INVESTIGATIONS are set to continue into a fire that burnt out three hectares of land at Pirron Yallock on Wednesday after Colac’s Crime Investigation Unit confirmed the blaze was being treated as ‘suspicious’.
Detective Senior Constable Mick Palmer said investigators had already determined the cause of the fire and that further investigations would take place.
“At this stage I can’t go into too much detail, other than to say we’ll be looking into the matter further,” he said.
CFA Region 6 duty manager Peter Lowe said a passing motorist spotted the fire on the south side of the Princes Highway opposite the floating islands at 11.05am.
“We had 15 tankers from district brigades at the scene along with two water helicopters, one fixed wing aircraft, two dozers and a water truck from the Corangamite Shire on the site,” he said.
“The bulldozers were used to create a barrier track around the perimeter of the fire.
“The fire was very difficult to access because of the rocky terrain, trees and the presence of snakes.”
The starting point of the fire was traced back to private property.
A ‘Watch and Act’ was put in place at the height of the blaze, but was downgraded to an ‘Advice’ warning at about 4.20pm.
CFA alerts advised the fire was ‘under control’ at about 6.20pm on Wednesday night and ‘contained’ at about 8am Thursday.
“Three units worked on the fire overnight and strike teams from District 7 (Geelong region) are onsite today (Thursday), footslogging it with hoses,” Mr Lowe said.
“Thermal imaging took place early this morning to determine hot spots and a sprinkler system is being put in place to address those areas.
“We’re fortunate that the fire did not occur in a peat area, although there is an area of peat nearby.”
Mr Lowe said it was fortunate there were no strong winds during the blaze.
“We expect to have teams working on the site for some days to come in an effort to prevent any flare-ups,” he said.
The CFA issued a reminder on Thursday morning that fire restrictions were still in force and lighting fires without a permit (issued by the local shires and authorised by the CFA) was an offence.
“Recent fires are suspect as a result of misuse of fire and has caused preventable personal anxiety, damage to property and has endangered communities,” the warning read.
“Think before you act”.
The Pirron Yallock fire was the second blaze in eight days listed as suspicious, with a fire at Naroghid which burned eight hectares of pasture land also considered suspicious.