Fire Crews working around the clock

THE Warracknabeal Fire Brigade and District 17 crews were kept on their toes over the Christmas and New Years period, working to contain the constant threat of bushfires.

Lightning ignites blaze at Cherrypool 

Wimmera CFA teams of 25 vehicles and a helicopter were sent out to a fire in a paddock off the Henty Highway at Cherrypool which started December 31.

The blaze started after a lighting strike struck a tree, igniting the surrounding farmland. 

Vic Emergency sources suggests the fire burnt through 150 hectares of mainly grassland. 

Vic Roads temporarily closed the Henty Highway in both directions through Cherrypool, between East West Road and Brimpean-Laharum Road.

Warracknabeal Fire Brigade Captain Cameron Whelan said Yarriambiack teams joined forces with CFA District 17 brigades to fight the inferno. 

“A strike team  was sent after a lighting strike hit a tree, it went through farming ground but luckily was pulled up by CFA worker crews but also the Henty Highway stopped the fire,” Mr Whelan said. 

“There were two tankers out of our group, Bangerang and Sheep Hills. There were about 30 CFA trucks down at the scene.” 

Unknown start to Warracknabeal-Birchip Road Fire 

Warracknabeal and Bangerang fire crews were called to a fire which started on the side of Warracknabeal-Birchip Road.

Two Tankers were sent out to the incident December 30 at around 8.15am near the Warracknabeal-Birchip Road and Borung Highway intersections. 

Cpt Whelan said the blaze was quickly contained by fire crews with the support of Wilken’s Grain Group. 

“It started in the morning and it was a grassfire that went from the roadside through to a paddock where crews were able to pull it up,” he said. 

“Thankfully Wilken’s water tanker took a huge part in assisting. So thanks to Wilken’s and their generous donation of water and their tanker was greatly appreciated.”

Cpt Whelan said the cause of the fire is still unknown. 

“It was investigated. But the cause is undetermined at this stage.” 

High Alert in the Wimmera 

District 17 still remain on high alert this bushfire season and are currently on standby for rotation to be sent to the fire grounds in Eastern Victorian. 

CFA District 17 Operations Manager Craig Brittain said they are rotating resources and strategically managing the bushfire crisis in the east while staying on high alert in the Wimmera. 

“There’s still fire running in the landscape, the emergency’s not over, they’re still sorting things out in east Gippsland, they’re still threatening homes,” Mr Brittain said.  

Smoke clears in Wimmera 

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria Airwatch reports Wimmera and the Mallee Air Quality is “Good” for Thursday, compared to “Poor” in Melbourne and “Very Poor” North East and East Gippsland. 

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a cool change for Warracknabeal with the chance for showers on Sunday. 

EPA Airwatch suggests most people can tolerate brief smoke exposure well, however young children, pregnant women, those with heart and lung conditions and the elderly may be more susceptible. 

They recommend if it is smoky outside to stay inside, shut doors and windows and turn on the air conditioning to “recirulcltate’. 

For real-time warnings and information visit VicEmergency. 

The latest air quality information is available at EPA AirWatch.