Fire and fury

A FIRE that raged through wheat crops in Nyah West on Monday night went unreported for sometime before firefighters arrived on scene.

Country Fire Authority crews responded to the fire on Yarraby Road shortly after 8pm on the eve of a Total Fire Ban Day.

Firefighters battled more than two hours to bring a large grass fire under control at Nyah West on Monday night. Picture: KYLIE THOMSON

Firefighters battled more than two hours to bring a large grass fire under control at Nyah West on Monday night. Picture: KYLIE THOMSON

At the height of the blaze, more than 30 tankers and two strike teams from West Bullock and District 20 were dispatched.

The fire broke out along Yarraby Road and burnt more than 1000 acres before crews brought it under control about 10pm.

A Watch and Act warning message was issued for residents in surrounding towns, before it was downgraded to an Advice message for Nyrraby, Towan and Yarraby.

Swan Hill Fire Brigade captain Dennis Turner said the cause of the fire was unknown and would be investigated.

Cpt Turner said the fire burnt through unharvested wheat, in what was a "substantial" loss to property owners.

However, there was no damage to structures or farming equipment. Chinkapook-Nyah West Road was closed to traffic as the fire travelled in a south-westerly direction towards Nyrraby and Chillingollah Roads.

Up to six tankers remained at the scene into the early morning, mopping and checking for residual burn.

"We had two units from Koraleigh and one from Tooleybuc, so our New South Wales counterparts jumped the river to give us a hand," Cpt Turner said.

Water tanks were supplied by council and one local farmer.

"We had around 100 people out here at one stage, volunteers, it was a big fire and a big effort," Cpt Turner said.

With the fire going unnoticed for some time, Cpt Turner said the fire had a chance to travel before tankers arrived on scene. 

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Wednesday's Guardian (November 15).

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