A Wagga man was first on the scene of a Murrulebale fire this weekend in a strange twist of fate.
Agricultural mechanic Tim Napier was driving south along Marrar Road near Junee when he saw lighting strike ahead of him just before 4pm on Saturday, November 28.
"It was just one lightning bolt, it went straight down and hit the ground. I knew straight away that it was a ground strike, so I had in me the concern for fire risk, with everything so dry," Mr Napier said.
"And sure enough, a few minutes later I came up over the hill and in front of me was the smoke."
The lightning ignited a fire on a property near the intersection of Marrar Road and Murrulebale Road, in between Temora and Junee.
Mr Napier pulled over and rushed to the house on the property to inform the residents of the fire.
He said the fire spread "very quickly" within about five minutes.
Mr Napier said the fire "went right up to the driveway and ... right next to the house" on the property.
"I was very concerned. The wind was blowing very hard at the time, obviously," he said.
"But due to the wind dying down and the quick response from the locals, thankfully it was brought under control quite quickly."
Mr Napier said residents from neighbouring properties rushed to help control the blaze, many with their own small fire trucks.
However, he said the owners of the property where the fire struck didn't have their own truck "right at hand".
"They had to drive a few minutes down the road to the sheds and then get the fire truck and drive it back up. So that was precious minutes lost," he said.
"So the only thing I could say to everybody in rural areas, is they probably should keep their fire truck as close as possible to their homes.
"Because when it happens, it happens so quickly."
NSW Rural Fire Service crews also attended the property and the blaze was brought under control by 4.50pm.
An RFS spokesman said the Murrulebale fire was about 20 hectares in size and was one of several relatively small fires in the region on Saturday, which remained at advice level with no threat to properties.
Firefighters were working to extinguish a separate fire, on Old Narrandera Road near Currawarna, when a sudden downpour of rain extinguished it entirely before 4pm.
A separate fire near Henty was brought under control after burning through 15 hectares before lunchtime.
Another fire near Deniliquin was brought under control after tearing through 416 hectares of grassland before 3pm.
The RFS spokesman said crews attended a separate grass in Deniliquin on Sunday, November 29.