DESPITE the quick response from local fire crews more than one hectare of Gunnedah wetland area has been burned overnight.
Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Fire and Rescue crews were called to the scene in the lagoon below Bloomfield Street at 4.15am on Thursday morning to find a large fire burning out of control.
Gunnedah Fire and Rescue Deputy Captain Andrew Johns told the Namoi Valley Independent the fire appeared to have been deliberately lit.
“The cause of this fire is suspicious,” Deputy Captain Johns said.
“Some firework paraphernalia was seen on the fire ground and this may have been the cause.
“The behaviour that caused this fire was reckless and unnecessary.”
Deputy Captain Johns said crews brought the fire under control “about an hour” after arriving at the scene.
“We had two crews of four firefighters at the scene,” he said.
“One of our principals is to call big and call early, and given you could see the glow of the fire from as far away as the Gunnedah South Public School, we thought it best to call in assistance from RFS crews.
“They did a fantastic job and we have a great relationship of working together and that came to the fore early on Thursday morning.”
Thursday morning’s fire is one of many extinguished by Gunnedah Fire and Rescue 314 in recent weeks, including two suspicious grass fires last month.
“This fire was quite close to the Gunnedah Caravan Park, which was a concern,” Deputy Captain Johns said.
“It goes without saying that if anyone sees anything suspicious they should report it.
“We are seeing bad fires all over the state at the moment due to the drought conditions and it is so important that everyone takes care, reports any suspicious fires and if they are reporting a fire, give as much detail as you can.”
Earlier in the evening, Fire and Rescue Crews were called to an alarm at a Gunnedah nursing home.
“Fire detection systems in certain high risk buildings automatically alert us if a fire is suspected,” Deputy Captain Johns said.
“This allows fire crews to get to an incident in minimal time frames.
“Fortunately, the call we received at midnight on Thursday proved to be a smoke issue.
“It is suspected that burnt food was the cause of the incident.”
Anyone with information about suspicious fires is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.