Mower starts bushfire, threatens nearby properties at Stawell

A bushfire came within metres of a neighbouring wood chopping business before it was put out by quick-thinking fire fighters. 

Country Fire Authority brigades were called to a blaze at a residential property off Uri Park Court at 8.50am on Friday. 

The fire was controlled within minutes, but home owner Melanie Johnson said the incident did not go past without a scare.

“It was freezing this morning and my uncle said he would go and do the mowing at the back – he used the brand new ride-on mower, we had only had it for three months and it started a fire,” she said. 

“The fire spread so quickly and my uncle started shouting so I ran to the phone and called triple zero right away.” 

About two hectares of land was burnt after the blaze came within 150 metres of the house.

But Ms Johnson said if it was not for a trench filled with sand, the fire could have spread onto the neighboring property, which was a wood chopping business.

“The fire actually reached the trench that separated the two properties,” she said. 

“But it stopped because there was nothing but sand there – if it reached next door the fire just would have gone out of control.”

The fire whipped around the side of the house and started to gain height when it caught onto some trees.

“Luckily the fire crews were arriving at this point and put it out within four to five minutes,” Ms Johnson said. 

“The firefighters were fantastic, they were straight onto the job and we would like to thank them very much.” 

Ms Johnson said she learnt a vital message during the ordeal and wanted to alert other residents.

“We had a small fire plan in place but it was not very good,” she said.

“We have learnt from this that anything can happen and anything can happen super fast – we have learnt that we do need to have a better fire plan in place.

“Have your own water tank on a trailer – we have so much land and the house pipes could not reach the fire.”

Country Fire Authority District 16 duty officer Bernie Fradd congratulated fire crews on responding promptly to the scene. 

“We were just about to put out an advice message to nearby residents, but fire crews managed to control the blaze before that,” he said.

“Fire fighters responded quickly, were calm at the scene and reduced the fire to a low-level event.”