FORTY firefighters are expected to spend the night battling a fire at a power station near the NSW border.
Emergency services were called to the Lake Hume power station near Albury about 3pm when a fire started in a power generator. Crews were unable to start fighting the flames until the power was shut down two-and-a-half hours later.
The fire continues to burn despite being briefly put out earlier in the evening.
NSW Fire and Rescue superintendent Rick Parkes told The Age tonight that the Environmental Protection Authority has been called in to monitor the site.
He said there were concerns water used to fight the blaze — now dormant around the generator — could become contaminated by oil run-off.
NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Ben Shephard said about 500 people were evacuated from the neighbouring areas.
Thick smoke covered the Victorian towns of Bandiana, Baranduda, Bonegilla, Bellbridge and Ebden for most of the day, while air quality is lower in NSW towns Kilara and Mitta Junction.