Police probe highway grass fire near Port Fairy

DETECTIVES are investigating the cause of a grass fire which burnt 40 hectares of farmland west of Port Fairy on Saturday.

The fire, which started at 4.25pm five kilometres west of the township beside the Princes Highway, was described as “small but fast and out of control”.

High winds fanned the fire in a north-easterly direction toward the Port Fairy-Hamilton Road. 

Police stopped traffic on the road until 5.50pm, with 11 CFA units controlling the blaze by about 5.30pm. Nearby cattle and stock were moved to safety and there was no damage to buildings.

The Warrnambool criminal investigation unit has been unable to determine the cause of the fire and investigations are continuing.

CFA Belfast group officer Max Humphrys said the fire burnt quickly through some long and dry grass before it was controlled.

“The biggest thing that stopped it going anywhere else was that the neighbour’s property was very bare, so it burnt out along the fence line on the east,” Mr Humphrys said.

“Along the northern side the fire ran into a paddock that had just been cut for hay.”

He said the CFA yesterday checked for remaining hot spots using a thermal imaging camera. Anyone with information about the fire should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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