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Scorcher causes outage

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January 08, 2018

CFA District 22 operations officer Pete Dedman said many campfires were still lit across popular sites in the district on Saturday, despite repeated messages in the media highlighting the total fire ban day.

In front of the air-conditioner or at the pool, Shepparton residents tried their best to escape the oppressive heat on Saturday.

Shepparton recorded a top of 41.2°C and temperatures stayed hotter than 40°C from 2.30pm to 7pm and were still at 28°C at 11pm, making sleep difficult.

Some people struggled more than others as 1800 Powercor customers in Greater Shepparton lost power at about 7.30pm, with power restored to properties progressively during the night, but some waited until yesterday morning.

A Powercor spokeperson said it looked like high loads due to the hot weather was the cause of the outage.

Country Fire Authority units had to extinguish a fire coming from an air-conditioning unit at a Dhurringile home, believed to be caused by overheating at 4.20pm. The home was not damaged.

Ambulance Victoria members were busy across the state and were called out to several cases of heat stroke and a number of near drownings during the day, but regional areas such as Shepparton had significantly less call outs than the city.

CFA District 22 operations officer Pete Dedman said many campfires were still lit across popular sites in the district on Saturday, despite repeated messages in the media highlighting the total fire ban day.

Teams from Forest Fire Management Victoria found a number of campfires being used unattended and others not properly extinguished.

‘‘Lucky no fires began from these campfires, but it ties up firefighting resources, all because people are not doing the right thing,’’ Mr Dedman said.

‘‘All solid fuel fires are banned. People who enjoy camping need to understand use of fire and general rules around camping, they are easily found on Parks Victoria or Forest Fire Management Victoria websites.

‘‘They have an obligation to find this out, ignorance is no excuse with the amount of information out there.’’

Mr Dedman reminded people heavy fines and potential jail time were the penalty for those caught.

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