'Disappointing': Mitta blaze lit on state alert

A BARANDUDA man was one of two who allegedly had fires burning during yesterday’s very high fire danger.

The man, 37 was charged after a number of bonfires were allegedly lit and left to burn overnight at a Mitta property.

At Cobram, a man, 87, is expected to be charged on summons after allegedly setting fire to vegetation in an orchard in the Murray River town.

The Country Fire Authority extinguished both fires.

Police said they were “disappointed” that people were lighting fires, despite the ban declared in the Mallee, North Central, Northern Country, Wimmera and South West districts.

Assistant commissioner of state emergencies and security command, Shane Patton, said police would not tolerate fire ban breaches.

“Total fire bans are put in place to keep the community safe and police will continue to proactively target not only arsonists, but anyone who is reckless enough to ignore the bans and put lives at risk,” he said.

“This includes lighting camp fires, bonfires and private burn-offs.”

Nearly two dozen small fires broke out in rural Victoria as temperatures soared past 40 degrees.

The mercury reached 41.9 near Mildura.

The CFA said a fire at Apsley, on the Victorian-South Australian border, was being brought under control after it burned through 300 hectares.

Crews are expected to remain at the scene overnight with the fire still alight.

The CFA also had to battle a grass fire near the north-western town of Kerang, which ignited after a head-on collision between a car and a truck in which the woman driving the car was killed.