Hot, windy temperatures spark fires

STRONG winds and lightning strikes sparked a number of fires yesterday, as the Rural Fire Service (RFS) confirmed the Riverina hit a catastrophic fire danger warning.

A total of 20 units from the Riverina and Southern Border RFS crews fought a blaze that burnt out 170 hectares of grassland and stubble paddocks near Rand that started mid afternoon and went into the night on Monday.

The fire that started to the eastern side of Rand ran along a narrow four-kilometre strip east with the wind.

The town was not under direct threat, but a Riverina RFS spokesman confirmed some rural properties were threatened before crews contained the blaze.

Riverina RFS also attended an Old Junee fire to grassland near Merimbula Road that could have worsened under the windy conditions about 1am today.

“We actually dipped into catastrophic fire danger (on Monday) for half an hour about 4.30pm,” the Riverina RFS spokesman said.

“We’re certainly going to be very vigilant with the next change, preceded by very warm conditions and north-westerly winds, followed by a southerly change embedded with storms, lightning and hopefully some rain.”

Five RFS South West Slopes trucks were expected to remain on scene at a fire on Bogolara Road, crossing the Hume Highway, near Berremangra until midnight tonight, following a fire started by a lightning strike late Monday afternoon.

A spokesman said the fire re-ignited about 12.35pm yesterday and had burnt about 40 hectares of inaccessible, rocky and timber terrain.

No properties were under threat.

Small grassfires were also reported at Howlong, Tunnell Road, Woomargarma and near Corowa.

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