Truck’s blazing trail

January 09, 2018

NSW RFS Tullakool captain Bill Hulands and permit officer Robert Hosking. Photo by Luke Hemer.

A series of grassfires which started in the region on Saturday are all believed to have been caused by one truck along a main traffic route leading to Barham.

NSW Rural Fire Service Mid Murray Zone manager Tony Whitehorn said the most likely cause was a faulty wheel bearing on the truck, or another mechanical issue.

Spot fires were started at West Windouran, Dhuragoon, Tullakool and Barham, with the largest at Barham burning 22 hectares of grassland and destroying 350 bales of hay.

‘‘The big one at Barham got away from us, and was not completely extinguished until 4.30pm Sunday,’’ Mr Whitehorn said.

‘‘We had five appliances and their crews assisting, including from Barham, Wakool and Tullakool brigades, and from Koondrook’s Country Fire Authority. The farmer also provided a grader.’’

Mr Whitehorn said the first of the five blazes reported was the fire at Tullakool, just before 11am on Saturday.

He said the others all followed soon after.

Mr Whitehorn said there was no evidence to suggest the truck sparked any more fires outside the Mid Murray Zone.

He said the incident was a timely reminder for all vehicles — trucks, cars and on-farm machinery — to be checked for faults.

‘‘People need to check the serviceability of their equipment,’’ Mr Whitehorn said.

‘‘Saturday was a day of very high fire danger and in the forests — one of which was only a few kilometres away from the large Barham fire — the danger levels were at extreme.

‘‘If a fire had gone in to the forest it could have been much worse.’’

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