Gumly blaze contained after 35ha destroyed

THE worst fears of Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews were realised when a quick-moving fire broke out close to Wagga Airport yesterday afternoon.With a catastrophic fire warning in place, extreme heat and building winds provided ideal conditions for the fire to spread and RFS crews worked quickly to contain the blaze in an effort to prevent it spreading to nearby homes.RFS Riverina zone community safety officer James Smith said the fire is believed to have started around 2.45pm on the roadside at Bakers Lane before quickly moving onto adjacent private land.Mr Smith said 19 tankers carrying 48 volunteers attended the scene, with assistance also provided by a NSW Fire Brigade strike team and impressive aircrane 'Delilah.'"Both the aircrane and fixed-wing bombers that are regularly based at Wagga Airport were able to provide support to crews on the ground from the air," he said.Within two hours the fire had been contained but not before around 35 hectares of grassland had been destroyed.Crews remained at the scene last night to ensure all traces of the blaze had been extinguished.Mr Smith yesterday said the cause of the fire was not yet known."We know where the point of origin was, however the exact cause of the fire will be investigated by the RFS and police," he said.He congratulated all those involved in the successful operation, particularly in light of the extremely difficult conditions volunteers had to face.Six hectares of grassland were also destroyed at Corowa yesterday after a fire broke out on a property 20 kilometres north of the town.