200-bale haystack destroyed in busy weekend

January 09, 2018

Local farmer and neighbour helping to move bales of hay from adjacent hay shed.

ROCHESTER firefighters were kept on their feet on Saturday responding to four fires — the worst being a 200-bale haystack.

Ten CFA and six Parks Victoria appliances were involved in the firefight, which saved a house.

Rochester Captain Luke Warren said it was great work by neighbours and friends of the homeowners.

‘‘They had started to spread the hay when crews arrived,’’ he said.

‘‘It assisted us when we arrived.’’

Mr Warren said the fire is likely to smoulder and generate a lot of smoke until at least the end of the week.

CFA district 20 operations officer John Cutting said the assistance of Parks was an asset to the crews on the ground.

‘‘While they were used as firefighting personnel, they were also there to fell trees,’’ he said.

‘‘While CFA has some chainsaw operators, we are unable to fell trees.

‘‘It is a great tool to have in a multi-agency area.’’

CFA has put out a community information notice out to the community saying the fire is unlikely to spread into grassland and firefighters will continue to monitor the fire.

There is no immediate threat to the community and no action is required.

A worrying sign however was a backyard campfire getting away in Queen St, Rochester.

‘‘The fire was lit on Friday night, but not put out properly,’’ Mr Warren said.

‘‘Due to the winds and the temperature on Saturday, culminating with the Total Fire Ban, it got away and spread into the neighbours backyard.

‘‘It’s very disappointing.

‘‘We would just like to remind the community that bonfires are illegal in an urban environment.’’

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