Fire along banks of Macquarie | Video

OFFICERS from Fire and Rescue have turned a negative into a positive on Monday evening, using a grass fire along the western bank of the Macquarie River as a chance to backburn.

Shortly after 6pm a call was made to attend to the scene near the footbridge that crosses the river, and a decision was made to make the most of the conditions and reduce the amount of combustible material in an area that is renowned for being the target of arsonists.

Three fire trucks and 12 firefighters were at the scene as the sun set on what had been a glorious spring day, however the promise of scorching temperatures later in the week forced the hand of those in attendance to remove further fuel from the area.

It is believed that up to eight children may have been in the area when the grassfire was lit, with investigations continuing.

“Fire and Rescue were called to the riverbank to a grass fire, and we’ve taken the mild conditions and the opportunity to conduct a backburn,” station officer Mick Medlin said.

“We believe there may have been children playing along the riverbank near the footbridge and they have started a fire and then decamped.

“Police are looking for those children to have a chat.

“There’s a lot of things in the community frustrate us and this is one of them but it’s our role and we’ve taken the opportunity to turn it into a positive not just a negative today.

“We’ve elected to burn along the riverbank and get rid of dead grass that council can’t mow.

“Along the riverbank is a well-known hot spot for us to come to small vegetation fires, so now we’ve been able to clear out this vegetation and when we do have worsening conditions it’s less likely we’ll have a fire that gets out of control.”