Australia — A $400,000 header has been destroyed in one of four “fairly serious” fires controlled by the NSW Rural Fire Service Orana Team this week.
The team is taking care of its “own patch” while continuing to send staff and volunteers to fight bushfires across NSW.
As another strike team headed out of Dubbo yesterday, the team’s operations officer Inspector Laurie Douglas was keen to warn the communities of Dubbo, Wellington and Narromine that conditions were rife for “quick and hard-running grass fires”.
In charge of the Orana Fire Control Centre in Dubbo yesterday, he urged care in the great outdoors by both farmers and the public.
“The grass is now so dry as it’s been a long while since we’ve had any moisture,” Inspector Douglas said.
All four fires attended by the team between Sunday and yesterday morning were near Narromine, three of them in crops and one believed to have been “started on the side of the road” at Webb’s Siding reserve.
“We believe all three (crop fires) were started by a header,” Inspector Douglas said.
“In one of them a $400,000 header was burnt to the ground.”
Inspector Douglas said the possibility of rain at the weekend had farmers “trying to get their crops off before that occurs”.
“Farmers know what they are doing, but should ..make sure they service their equipment and have the ability to fight a fire if it happens,” he said.
“The general public needs to be aware that it is the start of the fire season and not the finish.”
He advised calling triple zero to report a fire, as opposed to contacting a “local brigade”, which could hinder a fast and effective response.
Yesterday team leader Lyndon Wieland and his deputy Bob Conran were helping to fight fires in the mountains near Guyra and in the Wollemi National Park, respectively.
The other six staff members of the Orana team are on “standby” having already completed tours of duty.
Early yesterday morning Inspector Douglas had counted 21 strike teams deployed in recent weeks to places such as Lithgow, the Blue Mountains, the Hawkesbury, South Coast and Wollemi National Park.
He said fires continued to burn “all over the state”, but thankfully the threat to life and property had diminished.