FIREFIGHTERS were called to multiple blazes within Bendigo despite repeated warnings over illegal New Year's Eve fireworks.
Fire response workers were forced to monitor a public reserve behind Ophir Street homes well into daylight hours on New Year's Day to make sure flames did not catch again.
Detectives from Bendigo's Crime Investigation Unit are investigating and suspect the fire was caused by black market fireworks.
The detectives visited the scene this morning and have since appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
The fire was triggered shortly after 9pm. Firefighters were able to bring it under control within 10 minutes.
Firefighters raced to the scene of a separate grassfire in Epsom shortly after midnight and were also able to bring it under control within 10 minutes.
They suspected that it had been started by illegal fireworks.
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Firefighters have not yet confirmed whether they suspect a White Hills grassfire called in at 12.07 was started by fireworks.
That blaze broke out in the Hamlin Street area and was swiftly brought under control.
The fires came after repeated warnings about the dangers of illegal fireworks on New Year's Eve.
Firefighters north of Bendigo had already been forced to race to the scene of an out of control grassfire the night before, which they suspected was triggered by black market fireworks.
Authorities were already bracing for potential fires after an increase in illegal fireworks uncovered in Victoria.
WorkSafe Victoria destroyed more than 730 kilograms of fireworks in 2021, a surge of more than 100 kilograms on 2020.
Bendigo Fireworks owner Peter Daley said professional pyrotechnics designed to explode 200 metres in the air had become prevalent on the black market and many people holding fireworks in their hands were not sure what they would do.
"When you buy it off the black market it's a lot like Russian roulette - you don't know what you're buying or what you're dealing with," he said.
Anyone with information on New Year's fires around Bendigo should call the Bendigo police station on 5448 1300.
They can also lodge a report with Crime Stoppers - anonymously if they wish - on 1800 333 000 or at crimestoppers.com.au
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