Firefighters from Goonellabah Station extinguish a small scrub fire on the Bruxner Highway near Goonellabah which threatened nearby houses.
Firefighters from Goonellabah Station extinguish a small scrub fire on the Bruxner Highway near Goonellabah which threatened nearby houses. Jay Cronan

Fire season starts in Goonellabah

BUSHFIRE season started early yesterday when firefighters were called to a suburban blaze threatening houses in Goonellabah.

The fire, thought to have been started by a discarded cigarette, took hold in parkland undergrowth between Gum Tree Drive and the Bruxner Highway about 10.30am.

The fire spread quickly through undergrowth sending smoke billowing across the busy Bruxner Highway, to the surprise of passing motorists, and igniting eucalypt trees between two houses in Gum Tree Drive.

An off-duty Rural Fire Service firefighter called it in, while resident Don Wilson tried to contain the blaze with his garden hose.

He said he was surprised at the intensity of the ‘four-foot flames' given the season and the recent wet weather.

“There was a lot of dry mulch there from the gum trees which has never been cleared,” he said.

NSW Fire Brigade duty officer James Connors issued a warning to smokers to be vigilant and not be deceived by the cooler weather and recent rain.

“I follow people home all the time who throw lit cigarette butts out their windows,” he said.

“It is really irresponsible behaviour – fires can kill.

“People should remain vigilant because with the rains last year there is a high fuel load within understorey vegetation.”



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