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Fire threatens Dadswells Bridge

Posted by Leith Hillard
Monday, 25 January 2010

Friday 22 January started out quietly in the Horsham ICC with a severe fire danger rating and a helicopter on standby right across the fence from the lunch room.

Incident name: Grampians- Roses Gap Road

Date: 22/01/2010

Region: 17

Brigades: Stawell, Lubeck, Halls Gap, Green Lake, Glenorchy

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Attention was focused on the strong winds predicted for the afternoon with Region 17 Operations Manager Dale Russell sending planes up at about 2pm to check for dry lightning strikes.

He was right to be concerned. With a strong north-westerly blowing, a series of lightning strikes hit the Grampians National Park at about 6.30pm. One of them started a fire that burnt 1715 hectares and got to within 50 metres of the Western Highway at Dadswells Bridge.

The 9.30pm wind change blew the fire towards the town, home of the Giant Koala tourist attraction, also burning 15 kilometres of fencing, farmland and livestock. The Western Highway was closed two kilometres west of Dadswells Bridge to the Roses Gap turnoff, while a section of Roses Gap Rd was also closed.

Some 200 DSE and CFA firefighters created a 17-kilometre control line overnight with four aircraft also helping to contain the fire which reached bushland that had not burnt for 100 years.

Dadswells Bridge captain David Sharp told The Wimmera Mail Times that the fire would give the town better fire protection. “The one positive is that we now have an excellent fire break behind the town,” he said. “We would have never in 100 years been able to do a controlled burn that close to town on that part of land.”

Cross Roads brigade member David Oddie suffered burns to his leg after stepping into an ash pit. He was treated by ambulance at the staging area before being taken to Stawell hospital. By Sunday he was resting at home and was described by Operations Officer Ross Anderson as “a bit sore”. Two other firefighters were also treated for burns at Horsham hospital.

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Last modified on Thursday, 04 February 2010 09:39
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