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Red alert in Rowville

ROWVILLE residents hosed down their homes and moved their horses to safety last Friday as a 40ha grass and scrub fire blazed out of control in a neighbouring reserve.

As temperatures soared to 44 degrees mid-Friday afternoon, four water-bombing aircraft, 75 trucks, three bulldozers and 260 firefighters fought the blaze in the Police Paddocks reserve near Power Rd and Churchill Drive.

Two firefighting choppers repeatedly filled their massive buckets from a dam in the Churchill Park Golf Club in nearby Endeavour Hills, and doused the flames with hundreds of litres of water.

While there was no direct threat to homes, Rowville residents Barbara and Andria were so worried they moved their horses to safety.

Others were watering down their properties, as the CFA asked residents to be prepared to put their fire plans into action.

Tourists were warned to stay away from Lysterfield Lake Park as wind and temperatures rose.

The CFA closed Bergins Rd as a precaution to residents and to give priority access to fire trucks. Dozens of concerned residents milled around the streets, staring at the plumes of smoke and helicopters.

Before authorities closed the roads there were minor traffic jams caused by rubbernecking motorists.

Smoke billowed over Waverley Golf Course in Rowville, but club assistant manager Matthew Taylor declined to comment.

The CFA was worried powerlines could be under threat in Endeavour Hills, which could then take out Knox’s power supply.

The cause of the fire was unknown at the time of Leader going to print.

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