5500 bales destroyed

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

It could be another week before a massive hay stack fire off the Cobb Highway between Mathoura and Moama can be extinguished and official investigations into the cause can be conducted.

The fire, which was reported at 5am Tuesday, destroyed at least 5500 bales of hay.

Rural Fire Service Mid Murray Zone district officer Phil Brunsdon said based on discussions with the landholder, the hay and the hay shed which is also damaged have a combined value of up to $1.5 million.

‘‘The hay is still well alight and the shed is starting to collapse,’’ Mr Brunsdon said when providing an update yesterday.

‘‘The shed collapsing will increase fire activity as it will allow more air to get in, and the fire is going to burn until at least next week.

‘‘The fire has not spread however, only its intensity has increased.

‘‘We won’t know the cause of the fire until it burns out more and we can safely get in there to have a bit of a look.’’

Deniliquin Police confirmed that forensic police had visited the property, located near Stud Farm Rd, to begin initial investigations.

Mr Brunsdon said it does not necessarily mean authorities consider the fire is suspicious.

‘‘A fire of that size, and the value of damage caused, will always be formally investigated by police regardless off the eventual cause,’’ he said.

‘‘There has to be a report prepared for the coroner on anything this big.’’

The fire is being monitored and managed by the property owners, with support from the RFS.