Dubbo and district residents warned fires starting 'very,very easily'

BE CAREFUL: Inspector Bob Conran is warning residents of Dubbo, Wellington and Narromine that “any machinery that can cause a spark” poses a fire risk. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
BE CAREFUL: Inspector Bob Conran is warning residents of Dubbo, Wellington and Narromine that “any machinery that can cause a spark” poses a fire risk. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Fires in Dubbo and district are starting “very, very easily”, reports acting manager of the Orana Team of the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Inspector Bob Conran.

“People need to take care in whatever they are doing,” he said on Wednesday as the temperature rose. “It’s just so volatile and dry at the moment.”

The Orana Fire Control Centre in Dubbo’s Cooreena Road is currently getting two to three calls a day to attend fires, not all of them in grass ready to burn because of warm daytime temperatures, frosty mornings and lack of rain.

In the past three to four weeks, Orana brigades have put out more than a dozen fires, the worst of them at Minore Road on hot and windy September 3.

“It jumped the Minore Road, the western rail line there and Delroy Road,” Inspector Conran said. “It had the potential to continue to spread.”  Four brigades of 20-odd firefighters put the blaze out in about an hour. “The intent is always to hit them hard and fast, and get them out before they develop into something serious,” Inspector Conran said.

On Monday afternoon more than 20 hectares off Durraween Road were destroyed by a fire started by an angle grinder. On Tuesday evening brigades attended small grass fires at Narromine and Brocklehurst.

Inspector Conran said paddocks that had been heavily grazed by livestock were helping brigades contain fires quickly. 

“That’s not a help for farmers, but it is helping us,” he said.

Inspector Conran said “any machinery that can cause a spark” posed a fire risk, including lawn mowers and welders.  He said Orana brigades, covering Dubbo, Wellington, Narromine and communities in between, were busier “than expected this time of year”.

The NSW RFDS is helping people prepare for fire by running Get Ready events this weekend. On Saturday Get Ready will be held at Eumungerie and Eulomogo stations from 10am to 2pm. On Sunday they will run from 10am to 2pm at Minore and 9am to 1pm at Elong Elong stations. The Boothenba brigade will run Get Ready at Bunnings Dubbo on Saturday followed by the Orana Support Team on Sunday.