Bird sparked Currandooley fire: RFS

Patrols continued on land off Bungendore Road on Wednesday in the Currandooley fire. Investigators say a bird landing on powerlines, then dropping in dry grass, sparked the massive blaze. Photo: Louise Thrower.

Patrols continued on land off Bungendore Road on Wednesday in the Currandooley fire. Investigators say a bird landing on powerlines, then dropping in dry grass, sparked the massive blaze. Photo: Louise Thrower.

A bird flying too close to a high voltage power line sparked the Currandooley fire which raced through almost 3400 hectares.

That’s the conclusion of police and Rural Fire Service investigators probing the blaze near Tarago. 

Deputy RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers released the finding on Friday morning.

“A bird flying too close to high voltage powerlines ignited and then landed in dry grass,” his statement read.

While the theory has been widely doubted, an RFS spokesman said it was not the first time investigators had encountered birds causing fires. Taylors Creek Road residents told the Goulburn Post this week that a crow landing on a powerline two weeks ago had sparked another smaller outbreak nearby. 

Three investigators were at the Currandooley scene again on Friday morning. Police were involved only because damage had exceeded the mandatory $500,000 amount, an RFS spokesman said.

The latest fire started on the Currandooley property, off Taylors Creek Road, southwest of Tarago at about 10am Tuesday. It was on land hosting Capital Wind Farm turbines, owned by Infigen. RFS personnel who were first on the scene told The Post they saw a burnt crow beneath a powerline.

Meantime, only hot spots remain on the extensive fire ground.

“It’s been pretty awesome,” RFS Lake George public liaison officer Lexi Hone said on Friday.

“There are containment lines around the perimeter. With the rain we’ve pulled more crews off the ground and there’s only one dozer there today.”

Wet weather is making it unsafe for heavy plant to drive on unformed areas.

Ms Hone said if the rain continued she hoped no more crews would be needed by this afternoon. Currently 25 vehicles and 75 firefighters remain. Strike teams from the Monaro and Shoalhaven will leave today and local crews will continue patrols into tomorrow.

On Thursday night personnel blacked out two hot spots on the fire ground.

“The crews in the past few days have done a power of work and the rain has also helped a lot,” Ms Hone said.

The fire burnt out 3387ha and on Friday was classified as under control and at ‘advice’ level.

Local Land Service officers are still verifying stock losses. However the RFS estimated that 200 sheep and 100 cattle had been destroyed. A house, sheds and two vehicles were also swallowed up by the blaze.

Ms Hone said landholders requiring livestock to be destroyed or buried should contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299. 

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