Howlong fire expected to cost more than $1 million

A LARGE hay shed fire has caused damage estimated to be worth more than a million dollars.

Firefighters were called to the incident at the Baker Grain property on Howlong-Balldale Road about 5.15am on Wednesday.

The incident appeared to have started on the eastern side of the shed and burnt through an estimated 6000 to 6500 hay bales and machinery.

The incident was brought under control but the fire is expected to continue burning for about a week, depending on weather conditions.

Rural Fire Service district officer Aaron Powell said fire crews remained on scene to ensure the blaze didn’t spread to nearby buildings or grass. 

“We’ve got containment lines in place and units on scene to prevent the spread of embers coming out of the shed,” he said.

“I believe it started in the eastern end of the shed.

“Unfortunately, it’s effectively taken out the whole shed.

About eight fire crews from various stations attended the scene.

“Given there are about 6000 bales, it will take up to a week for this to burn out,” Mr Powell said.

While rainfall is predicted in coming days, he said that could hamper the firefighting efforts.

“Heavy rainfall could prolong the incident,” Mr Powell said.

“We’d like it to burn down and reduce the amount of hay and get rid of it.

“Rain will make that process longer.”

Firefighters were also called to a fire at a Department of Defence ammunition storage facility in Oaklands on Tuesday night.

A security guard noticed flames at the Pentarch Industrial site on Answerth Dive about 11pm and alerted authorities.

A 300 metre exclusion zone was set up amid concerns about possible explosions.

The building was destroyed but nobody was hurt during the incident. 

Fire and Rescue Superintendent Stewart Alexander said precautions had been taken to ensure there was no risk to the public.

“We didn’t want to take any chances,” he said.

“There is assorted ammunition in there, but there’s no risk to the public.”

Neither fire is considered suspicious. 

This story Howlong fire expected to cost more than $1 million first appeared on Eastern Riverina Chronicle.