Firefighters smother two outbreaks in extreme heat

FIREFIGHTERS took no chances in the heat in tackling two separate blazes in Hamilton and Condah yesterday. 

Every effort from the ground and air was thrown at the fires as temperatures spiked above 40 degrees. 

Traffic on the Glenelg Highway two kilometres west of Hamilton was diverted when a 29-hectare blaze broke out 500 metres north of the road shortly after 11am.

Warrnambool Incident Control Centre public information officer Brendan Gordon said the fire started in a swampy area. 

About 18 tankers and 71 firefighters were able to get the blaze under control by 2pm. 

“They got onto it really quick. Because of the heat, aircraft were also called in,” Mr Gordon said. 

Meanwhile, a suspected electrical fault at the historic Condah mission is being blamed for a fire that burnt through five hectares at 2.30pm. 

Heywood Incident Control Centre controller Mike Harper said 10 tankers stopped the fire leaping into a nearby stony lava flow area. 

“It’s an area of granite lava flows. If the fire had have got in there, it would have been very difficult to stop,” Mr Harper said.

“It was close to houses, so we put out a watch and act alert.” 

Water bombers from Casterton were deployed, while another helicopter was scrambled into the air from Colac but was turned around after ground crews subdued the flames. 

Mr Harper said the CFA would investigate the electrical fault, thought to be caused by sparks from a transformer. 

Crews will again be on high alert for today’s statewide total fire ban day. 

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