Frightening the horses

FOR 10 years they’ve lived in a utopia of sorts, a few hundreds metres from Morton National Park gorge and in the peace of Tallong and its surrounds.

On Wednesday, the livelihood of equestrian trainers José and Faye Mendez came under threat.

Authorities responded promptly when reports of a fire on Badgerys Lookout Road, south of Tallong, emerged on Wednesday morning.

The Mendez’s Badgerys Lookout Road property, used primarily to train horses, was armed with fire fighters, as were neighbouring homes.

Regular water bombings from an Erickson S-64 helicopter, better known as Elvis, diminished the fire hours after its outbreak.

Tallong and Marulan units supported on the ground. On Wednesday evening the RFS declared the fire secure.

For José Mendez, an esteemed equestrian trainer, Wednesday’s fire was a little close to home.

“For a couple of hours it was very scary, it was almost at the boundary fence,” he said.

“With 12 horses on the property, you can imagine how bad it could have been.”

Mr Mendez said the incident was the first of its kind on his property in a decade.

“In 10 years this is the first time it’s happened,” he said.

“It’s quite frightening.”

Police officers supported fire fighters by blocking entry to Long Point Road, west of Tallong, and monitoring vehicle entry on Caoura Road.

“We’re notifying residents of the danger, we’re basically here as a support role to the fire service,” Sergeant Tracey Pollard said.

José Mendez calms his prized Mantavani during Wednesday’s fire.

José Mendez calms his prized Mantavani during Wednesday’s fire.


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