RFS called to extinguish Humula blaze

Crews get on top of the fire at Humula on Saturday.

Humula firefighters and a local landholder battled a bushfire at Humula on Saturday.

Stephen Rattey was returning to his Humula property from Gundagai along Downfall Road when he spotted the fire burning near his property at about midday on Saturday.

His wife Sonia said he went out with a rake and called the Humula RFS, who responded first with one and then with two tankers.

They battled the fire from about midday until it was extinguished about 4pm.

Mrs Rattey initially suspected the fire was lit by a discarded cigarette butt.

“People chuck crap out the window a lot on this road,” she said.

She had heard from a witness who said they saw a tree alight around 6am that morning.

Mrs Rattey believes the fire was not naturally ignited.

“Saturday was a cool day so there was no real way it could have started on its own,” she said.

She believes the tree and bush debris around the road made things worse.

“There is a lot of debris there which is quite a hazard,” she said. 

She said that the fact that three councils are responsible for Downfall Road is the reason it is not cleaned up.

“Snowy Valleys Council has the top half, Greater Hume has the middle and Wagga the end,” she said.

“After what happened with the Black Summer bushfires with fuel loads, it is quite astounding that nothing has been done,” she said.

“If this fire hadn’t been seen when it was who knows how far it would have got.”

She believes there are two lessons to be taken from this fire.

“One is don’t throw things out the window of cars, and the other, just because we are having cooler weather does not mean there isn’t a fire risk,” she said.