Green thumbs offer divine intervention

A JEERALANG Junction resident has offered her church’s mowing and gardening group’s services to prevent fire escaping from the Hazelwood mine fire.

Heather Enders’ offer in The Age comment section on Monday said she would like to volunteer her small local church mowing group to cut whatever long grass was still around the Hazelwood power station.

“We are nearly all in our 70s but believe we could do the job in two days. Please let us know if you can use us and we will be there as soon as possible with our mowers, rakes and wheelbarrows – and masks of course,” she wrote.

Ms Enders admitted her offer was somewhat “tongue in cheek”, but was astounded to see the grass fire on Tuesday last week from embers in the open cut.

Fire encroached within 200 metres of the Hazelwood power station when north-westerly winds caused the grassfire.

“It took several hours to put out and caused a huge pall of black smoke to add further woes to the Morwell citizens,” she said.

“I guess what I was so alarmed about was the grass fire was right on the power station.”

Ms Enders said anybody in their right mind would know that if you raked grass, there was nothing to burn.

“We survived Black Saturday, if you get an ember on raked grass, you can put your foot on it. This happens and for God’s sake, get a few people that know what fire is like,” she said.

Ms Enders, who attended the demonstration meeting at Kernot Hall on Sunday, said it had gotten to the point where locals needed to do something.

“We’re feeling very powerless about what’s happening,” she said.

The resident has also questioned how the fire got into the mine, and said it could have been protected by an adequate buffer zone.

Ms Enders said all the discussion was around the power company removing infrastructure.

“How did the Driffield fire get into the mine? It must have travelled across land and didn’t meet any cleared area between the fire and the mine,” she said.

“They’re talking about what happened when fire got into the mine, not preventing the fire getting into the mine in the first time.”