Fire-fighters had to deal with treacherous conditions as they battled to save a house from a scrub fire at Elong Elong on Sunday but they shouldn’t have had to be there.
In a worrying trend, the cause of the fire which broke out on the Wattle Road on Sunday morning is suspicious and under investigation. Another fire on the Minore Road in Dubbo, which also threatened houses, is also suspicious.
A total of 10 tankers and 40 fire officers were required to contain the Elong Elong fire. While the house was able to be saved, other buildings were lost.
“Fire-fighters put their lives on the line to save the house. They did a fantastic job. The time taken to save the house meant that unfortunately a fence, a couple of outer sheds, garden sheds and such, were lost,” Rural Fire Service Orana team leader Lyndon Wieland said.
As of Monday the fire was contained and crews were working to extinguish it completely. The Minore Road fire was also just being mopped up and posed no further threat.
Superintendent Wieland said he was horrified to think someone was going round lighting these fires, selfishly and needlessly risking lives and property.
“It gives you a really sick feeling to think there is someone going around lighting fires like this. There are harsh penalties for people who light these fires and hopefully anyone who is doing it is caught.”
Under section 203E of the crimes act, anyone who deliberately lights a fire that becomes a bushfire can be handed a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.
Dubbo Fire and Rescue have been to eight fires in the space of 48 hours between Saturday and Monday that were suspicious in Apollo Estate. The worst was a house fire in Braun Avenue, which is being investigated, while they had been called to grass fires, rubbish fires and tree fires in the area.
Dubbo Fire and Rescue station officer Mick Medlin said all the fires were in close proximity and all were being investigated.
Fires continue to burn across much of NSW with one of the worst at Oxley Crossing, north east of Coonabarabran, where some residents were advised to evacuate. Conditions did ease on Monday afternoon but the danger was far from over.
There are in excess of 20 fires burning around Orange and Bathurst while other bad ones burn in the south of the state between Wagga and Albury.