FIREFIGHTERS are warning residents to be vigilant over the coming days after having fought a number of preventable fires over the past week.
Rural Fire Service Orana team manager Superintendent Lyndon Weiland said the most concerning fire had been one started by a Mobile Speed Camera Vehicle that was parked on the side of the road on Saturday.
The vehicle was stopped but remained running on the Newell Highway between Dubbo and Tomingley in long grass. It is understood the heat of the exhaust caused a fire to spark in the dry grass.
“It’s concerning because it was started by a professional who was parked in the long grass on the side of the road,” he said
“Taking into consideration how hot it was and what the weather has been like, it could have been a lot more disastrous.
“We were lucky this time, and the firefighters were on scene very quickly to bring it under control, but it could have been a lot worse.”
A spokesperson for the Roads and Maritime Services said they were aware of the incident and an investigation was underway.
“Mobile speed camera sites are located according to criteria which takes into account crash statistics and safety standards,” the spokesperson said.
Superintendent Weiland said there had been more preventable fires over the past week, including one at a Macquarie River campground which was started when campers failed to properly extinguish a camp fire near the river.
“Considering there is water in the river and it wouldn’t have taken long to get a bucket and put water on the fire to make sure it was properly put out, this was again a case of neglect by the people who were responsible for the fire in the first place,” he said.
There have also been several fires started when cars had been stolen and set alight.
“It’s been a very busy Christmas week for our brigades, and they have responded very quickly which has prevents a major fire in the region.”
With temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s predicted for the rest of the week and no heavy rain expected, Superintendent Weiland is urging people to be careful.
“I understand that rural people need to run their properties, but they should make sure they are on their vehicles, or doing things in the early morning when it’s a bit cooler, and not in the middle of the day.
“Using angle grinders, or welding should be really just ruled out at the moment, and if it has to be done, then they should make sure there is a fire truck on standby near.
“It’s very volatile at the moment. There may be showers forecast, but what we need is proper rain, and there is no sign of rain coming.”
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