We've dodged a bullet... for now


- GALLERY: Click or flick across the above photos (iPhone app users can tap 'Photos').

- LATEST: Jerilderie fires contained

- Ready to Flee: Henty residents thought their houses would be lost

- The Aftermath: Rolling coverage from regional Australia's worst fires

- Thankyou: Send a message to our firefighters

- Cool change: But hot weather ahead

Click play below for a video report from the scene of the fire (iPhone app users can tap the 'Videos' tab).

FIREFIGHTERS saved Henty from destruction yesterday afternoon, the region’s top fire officer has said.

Manager of the Southern Border Rural Fire Services team, Super­intendent George Alexander, said firefighters had been lucky to contain the fire five kilometres short of the town after it began at Munyabla, north-east of Henty, near Lockhart.

“We dodged a bullet today,” Supt Alexander said.

“If we hadn’t got it early, it could have hit Henty and we could’ve been in all sorts of strife. They saved that town.”

The fire started at 1pm when a tree fell on a powerline.

Supt Alexander sent 10 tankers and 50 firefighters from his region to join a similar number of volunteers from Lockhart after they had lost control of the fire.

Fire and Rescue NSW also sent a strike team to join the fight for Henty as the fire swept towards the town.

Supt Alexander said the wind had dropped about 2.30pm and firefighters then contained the fire to 80 hectares. No property or stock was lost.

“Henty was the concern from our point of view,” Supt Alexander said.

Personnel at the Albury Rural Fire Service headquarters had earlier had their eyes on a 1000-hectare grass fire at Conargo, caused by lightning on Sunday night.

It had broken containment lines to threaten Jerilderie.

“I wasn’t too worried about the one at Jerilderie because I knew it would travel west,” Supt Alexander said.

“That’s why I threw everything I could at the Henty fire. It had the potential to have an impact on Henty.”

Supt Alexander said he had had the comfort of knowing he had back-up from Victoria’s Country Fire Authority if there was an outbreak in his area.

“The community might think he’s put all his resources in the one basket but I knew I had back-up in Wodonga,” he said.

“I could have put a lot more resources into Henty than I did.

“You can’t focus on the fire you’ve got to look at the big picture.”

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide