Kianga pile burn escapes in difficult terrain, threatens house

The fire was burning in steep and difficult terrain at a gully in Kianga. Image: supplied

The fire was burning in steep and difficult terrain at a gully in Kianga. Image: supplied

A Kianga pile burn escaped after wind picked up and pushed flames up to the edge of a house about 6pm, Thursday, April 17.

The blaze was burning in a steep gully in difficult terrain, Narooma RFS captain Sophie Taylor said.

When winds picked up, the fire "shot up the hill towards the house".

Three Narooma trucks and two Dalmeny trucks rushed to the scene.

"The terrain was so steep, thick and burning so hot, we had to put out the main front, then let everything burn slowly once the wind died down," Captain Taylor said.

Embers were flying at firefighters and onto the edge of the house. Captain Taylor said she suffered six burns.

The grass and trees were green, but burnt well, she said.

Image: supplied

Image: supplied

The fire was likely to burn for a few days and would be monitored by firefighters.

The crew received two calls only hours beforehand, from residents near the Wagonga Inlet concerned about burn-offs across the inlet. Residents were still on-edge after a horrific fire season, Captain Taylor said.

She asked property owners to check the weather and the surrounding environment before lighting a match.

She said to call Narooma RFS (4476 1112) if residents had concerns they were not equipped or resourced for a pile burn, for example with no water nearby or machinery.

Image: supplied

Image: supplied

Far South Coast RFS said out-of-control pile burns threatening property had made it challenging for volunteers to maintain appropriate social distancing procedures during COVID-19 restrictions.

"It would appear that keeping a pile burn under control is not always as easy as people think," a spokesperson said.

"We have had a number of call-outs recently to properties where people have either underestimated how easily a pile burn can get away, or perhaps overestimated their ability to contain it.

"While none of these jobs have created a threat to property it has made it challenging for our volunteers to maintain appropriate social distancing procedures and all the risks associated with that.

"Please ensure you have everything in place before you strike a match."

Check the guidelines here.

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