EAST Albury residents yesterday used garden hoses to defend their homes from a grass fire.
The blaze, on a steep stretch of bush behind Doctors Point Road and adjoining Eastern Hill, threatened houses in the Rainbow Ridge estate.
Firefighters from 10 tankers had the blaze under control by 3.30pm, about an hour after it started.
Tom Chubb, 86, was watching television in his Graham Place house when two teenage girls who live two doors away knocked on his door to alert him to smoke and flames in his backyard.
Mr Chubb immediately rang triple-0.
“It didn’t look that big but then I realised that it was,” he said.
“I wasn’t too worried for the house because everyone had hoses out.”
Maggie Pain, 15, was going to meet her friend Emma Matheson, 14, when she saw a lot of smoke and alerted Mr Chubb.
“We went on the balcony of our house and saw that it had spread so much.”
The fire burned about half a hectare of grassland including most of Mr Chubb’s backyard and much of his immediate neighbours’ properties.
Fire and Rescue duty commander Stewart Alexander said the constantly changing winds and the steep, overgrown terrain had made it difficult to put the fire out.
“It’s a very steep slope here and the fire could have caused major damage to the houses.
“It was very close and very windy, and it was moving up the valley.”
Doctors Point Road and East Street were blocked at the height of the fire so emergency services could bring it under control.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire.