The Wunghnu Complex Fire
As predicted by the CFA, Sunday February 9th turned into a bad fire day, temperature forty two degrees with strong north-west winds, possibly the worst day since Black Saturday. A fire at Wunghnu started early in the afternoon, followed by another on the Shepparton-Barmah Road near Bunbartha. Then a little while later a third fire started north-east of Wunghnu. With three going fires CFA resources were stretched to the limit. These three fires eventually linking up to become one big fire, to be known as the Wunghnu Complex Fire.
At 1625 hours the Arcadia Brigade was paged to be part of a Strike Team 2286 to go to the Bunbartha fire, also in this strike team was Merrigum FCV and Murchison, Karramomus, Undera and Cooma Tankers. The Arcadia tanker was deployed in blacking out operations, then at 2300 Hrs they were sent to Kelly’s Rd Wunghnu on asset protection along the Nine Mile Creek. At about 0300 Monday they were released from the fire ground arriving back in Arcadia at 0400 after a long night in the field.
This particular fire would possibly be the largest fire in the Goulburn Valley for the past forty nine years, burning in the vicinity of 10000 Ha. The last big destructive fire being the Longwood fire in January 1965, which started on the Murchison-Violet Town Road between Moorilim and Miepoll. This fire was fanned by a strong north wind on a hot day and burnt up in to the hills south of Longwood, finally being contained the following day at Ruffy, north-east of Seymour.
How easy a fire can start.
The Arcadia Brigade members who had just returned from the Wunghnu fire were aroused again at 0600 Hrs to attend a reported G&S fire on the freeway between Arcadia Road and Doyles Road. This fire had started as a result of a gearbox on a small truck overheating, disintergating and spreading hot metal parts across the road, which started small fires on each side of the south bound lane. By chance the Molka Tanker and crew who were on their way home from the Wunghnu fire came along shortly after the fires had started and quickly had the situation under control. The Arcadia and Moorilim tankers arriving shortly after. If this incident had occured some twelve hours earlier this story could have been far different?