26 September 2023

Tree fire a lesson against waterlogged work

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The recent rains have increased the risk of trees falling near powerlines said Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) which has issued a warning about waterlogging to the community.

Chairperson and Commissioner of ESV, Marnie Williams said the warning followed a recent incident where a large tree uprooted in waterlogged soil, fell and brought down low voltage powerlines onto a car.

Ms Williams said the live powerlines started a fire on the car and firefighters were called: “Fortunately no one was injured”.

“Every time we experience heavy rain and extreme wind, the chances of trees and vegetation becoming unstable rise,” Ms Williams said.

“In this case, it was lucky no one was near the tree or powerlines however, the incident does serve as an example of powerlines being live even after they have fallen or been damaged.”

She said Victoria had experienced a consistent deluge over the past month with much of the State impacted by floods and other rain damage.

Ms Williams said that with wind and rain forecast to continue, it was important the community be aware of the increased risk of unstable trees, particularly near powerlines.

“If Victorians are concerned about an unstable tree near powerlines, the best thing to do is report the location of the tree to the electricity distribution business that operates in that area,” the Commissioner said.

She reminded people to remain eight-to-10 metres away from fallen powerlines as they may still be alive.

Ms Williams said people should always treat fallen powerlines as live even when they were broken or damaged.

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