Tangling with turbines 

AERIAL water bombing of Grabben Gullen fire would have been impossible a few years down the track, argues a wind farm opponent.

NSW Landscape Guardians president and Kialla resident Humphrey Price-Jones said Tuesday’s blaze started on a property which would host turbines for the Gullen Range wind farm.

A neighbour discovered the fire and if not for quick Rural Fire Service work on the ground and aerial water bombing, north-westerly winds would have carried it to Goulburn, Mr Price-Jones said.

“Importantly, if it broke out in an area where there were turbines, aerial support would be out of the question because you can’t water bomb turbines. No pilot would fly near them,” he told the Post.

“If it’s in a fire prone area, it would be foolhardy for ground crews to operate without that protection.”

Mr Price-Jones has argued his case to state planning minister Brad Hazzard and local MPs Katrina Hodgkinson and Pru Goward. He’s frustrated that wind turbines continue to be built, pointing out that two fires have broken out in South Australian developments.

In this context he found it ironic that Upper Lachlan Shire Council halted all machinery work due to the fire risk.

The outbreak started three to four kilometres southwest of the Price-Jones’s property, near the junction of Range Rd and Learys Lane. On Tuesday RFS community liaison officer Peter Dyce said Grabben Gullen was not traditionally a fire risk area as it was mostly grassland.

Some 50 houses were in the blaze’s path, but Mr Price-Jones said only two sheds were lost.

The fire burnt through 252 hectares, (622 acres) the RFS said, but Mr Price-Jones believed it was “a few thousand acres.” His property was not affected.

“Obviously we are extremely grateful to the local blokes in the RFS and so should the people of Goulburn. It was a valiant effort,” he said.

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