TWO fires were lit in Wodonga on Saturday, after a week of high fire danger, and frustrated police say “it’s just not cricket”.
Sgt David Arnold said the first fire, at 1.30pm under the Hume Freeway bridge behind Sumsion Gardens, burned 10 square metres of land and it’s believed to be suspicious because several fires were lit within that small space.
“When a fire occurs naturally, it generally starts in one spot; if a fire is unnatural it generally starts in a number of locations simultaneously,” he said.
A West Wodonga man driving past saw smoke and called fire services.
“Luckily the fire brigade was not very far away and they got onto it very quickly,” Sgt Arnold said.
He said although the fire danger had eased after a week of extreme conditions, Saturday’s fire could have threatened property and life.
“Conditions were not extreme but any fire has the potential to cause a substantial amount of damage, put people at risk and also put emergency personnel at risk.
“It was an area that was not easy to get to and not easy to fight and you’re placing them at risk.
“It’s just not cricket, is it?”
Sgt Arnold said the second fire started five hours later in Willow Park in Wodonga when leaves, twigs and grass were used to fuel the one metre square blaze that was put out quickly.
“Again, there was nothing there to cause the ignition other than human intervention,” Sgt Arnold said.
Wodonga CFA station officer David Brown said they were preparing for more high fire danger at the end of the week.
“We’re all enjoying a bit of respite from the hot weather but looking at the forecast for us towards the end of the week there’s a bit of a spike for us,” he said.
“Thursday is quoted at around 40 degrees with a change coming through the state during Thursday night into Friday morning.
“We worry about the lightning, the erratic winds — it means that any fire is harder for us to be able to control.”
People who had not prepared their fire plans should do so.
“Summer is far from over. Do not become complacent.
“If you haven’t prepared already, you must do it,” he said.
Residents are asked to report any suspicious behaviour by phoning triple-0.