Out-of-control burn-off

On Saturday a fire spread to Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, suggesting the importance for property owners to register their burn-off.

By Derek Schlennstedt

Yellingbo CFA Captain Paul Spinks is warning residents of the Yarra Valley to register their burns and to monitor the weather prior to burning-off.
On Saturday 11 October at 1pm, CFA services were called to a private property that backs onto Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve.
The burn is believed to have taken off from a controlled burn-off by a private resident, and has quickly spread to the Yellingbo Reserve – burning within an area of one hectare.
Mr Spinks said that the fire was difficult to bring the fire under control due to the size of the property, which meant they could only utilise smaller vehicles and not large trucks to get close to the fire.
“We got a call at just on quarter past 1 on Saturday for a burn-off that got out of control.”
“The difficulty with this particular property and like many properties adjacent to the Yellingbo reserve is that they are narrow … the only way to combat it was with smaller compliance or ultra-light tankers.”
Seventeen appliances were called to the reserve to help get the fire under control; however the majority of these were smaller tankers.
The fire took a few hours to bring it under control, but services were able to fight it from both sides, when it got into the reserve.
Mr Spinks said people should not become complacent because of the recent rain, and that although everything is still green, the soil is very dry.
“It looks green, but the actual soil is very dry, all the underlying growth is drying,” he said.
“It did go into the Yellingbo reserve, and we did have to fight the fire from track access within the reserve … we managed to contain it and fight it from both angles – the private property and the reserve itself.”
“It spread quickly due to the tree canopy, and fuel loadings within the Yellingbo reserve.”
Mr Spinks urged people burning-off to register their burns and to check the CFA website on how to prepare and maintain a burn-off.
Residents can register their burn-offs at http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/contact/register-your-burn-off/