Escaped burn-off

A waterbomber attacks a fire near Wandana Rd in Sale on Wednesday afternoon.

A waterbomber attacks a fire near Wandana Rd in Sale on Wednesday afternoon.

EMERGENCY services from across the district attended an escaped burn-off at Wandana Rd in Sale on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire, which burnt more than a hectare of marshy swampland south of Sale, was firebombed by aircraft from Bairnsdale, as spotfires proved inaccessible.

No one was hurt, and the fire was under control before 7pm.

A community warning was issued for the smoke.

The property owner phoned the CFA about 5pm as soon as he realised the burn-off was out of control, according to police.

District 10 operations manager Allan Rankin praised the RAAF Base, East Sale’s help in clearing the airspace for the waterbombers, which had only arrived in Gippsland for the summer this week.

“It was a good joint effort by all involved,” he said.

“Safety around aircraft is paramount — our people were back in trucks on the lower slopes, and the aircraft have sirens fitted that go off when they begin their runs.

“Having to use firebombing aircraft out the back of houses will draw community interest, but in a fire that was so soft and marshy we couldn’t put trucks there; the aircraft were a real bonus.”

Mr Rankin urged to people to be careful around active fires.

“We want access ways to remain clear so emergency crews can get in and do their job,” he said.

He also wanted to remind people that when emergency vehicles had their lights or sirens active, drivers must slow to 40kmh under law, noting an incident recently on the Sale-Maffra Rd.

Fire restrictions will come into force in Wellington Shire on Monday.

Gippsland Senior
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