Fires across the Yass Valley

 Six fires burned around the region on Wednesday as a taste of what could be to come this fire season.

Peter Alley from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) said the big factor on Wednesday was the high winds.

“It was quite cool but it just goes to show that we can have cool weather and high winds, and you’ve still got a problem,” the Southern Tablelands zone manager said.

He said if the day was hot and dry it could’ve been much worse.

“If we’d had high temperatures and low humidity [there’s] no way we would’ve got them under control.”

Several of the fires started from lightning strikes, one from a truck’s wheel bearings overheating and a fire at Murrumbateman was sparked by an angle grinder.

Mr Alley warned people to be extra careful.

“Accidents will happen, such as the truck wheel bearing, and lightning strikes we can’t do much about,” he said.

“[But] when people are so silly that they’ll angle grind in long grass when the wind is around 70 kilometres an hour, you’ve got to wonder about their mentality.

“That’s just stupidity.”

He said the RFS and its volunteers will need to be vigilant this summer.

“You’ve to be on guard because you never know what Mother Nature’s going to serve up to you.”

How the day unfolded

Oolong, 8.30am: a fire burned around one hectare of land on the side of the Hume Highway and in between the lanes near Gunning. Southbound traffic was stopped and vehicles banked up. Fire fighters are unsure as to how the blaze started.

Marulan, mid-morning: a powerline went down and burned a small area of land.

Mundoonen Range, mid-morning: another fire broke out along the Hume Highway. An overheated truck wheel bearing started the fire which burned around one hectare.

Boambolo, lunchtime: a dormant lightning strike started a fire near Good Hope that burned around 20 hectares.

Murrumbateman, 3pm: a spark from an angle grinder started a fire which fortunately didn’t do very much damage.

Wargeila Road, 7pm: almost a dozen fire trucks were needed to put out a scrub fire on a property on Wargeila Road. High winds fuelled a tree fire from a lightning strike earlier in the week. Around a hectare of land was burned, with quite a few volunteers working very late to get the fire under control.

Create a bushfire survival plan so you know what to do when a fire breaks out near you. Clean up around your house and ensure long grass is trimmed. Check fire danger ratings in your area, including information about total fire bans.

For more photos from the Mundoonen Range fire click here.

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