Burning off, both legal and illegal, caused about one third of the bushfires started in the Tarago, Bungendore region (including Boro, Mt Fairy and Bywong incidents) and towards Goulburn between September 2016 and the end of February 2017. There were 17 incidents, most quickly put out, in a report provided to the Bulletin by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Five fires were attributed to burning off. Four fires were blamed on ‘powerlines’ one being a transformer fire and another being the encounter leading to the infamous flaming crow incident that started the 3386 hectare Currandooley fire (still subject to a coronial enquiry). The RFS could not immediately say what the other two powerline situations were.
Mowers and slashers and one motor vehicle stall caused a further three fires, lightning caused two, a human-caused house fire was another flashpoint and two fires were listed as undetermined.
The fire that started the massive Carwoola blaze off the Captains Flat Road was due to an admitted metal grinding incident on a home construction site on a hot day.
According to the Yass area RFS, the January Sutton blaze that started at Mulligans Flat is still being described as suspicious but no arsonists have been apprehended.
The RFS message is that slashing early fire breaks in paddocks, not using machinery or vehicles that can cause sparks on total-fire-ban days and not burning off when conditions are hazardous, are things residents can and should do to protect themselves and their neighbours. Powerline fires bear further investigation.
In summary, the suspected cause of fires listed as a total is as follows:
|Burning Off Legal/ Illegal||5|
|Motor vehicle (malfunction)||1|
|Hillside Lane, Bungendore||Burning Off – Legal||26/09/2016||0.1|
|Federal Hwy, Wollogorang||Undetermined||10/10/2016||0.1|
|Kings Hwy, Bungendore||Burning Off – Illegal||21/10/2016||0.1|
|Currawang Pines||Burning Off – Illegal||28/10/2016||0.1|
|Mount Fairy Rd, Mount Fairy||Power Line||13/12/2016||0.3|
|Federal Hwy, Lake George||Motor Vehicle||14/12/2016||0.1|
|Lake Rd, Bungendore||Power Line||17/12/2016||0.1|
|Clare Lane, Bungendore||Mower/ Slasher||17/12/2016||2.32|
|Currawang Rd, Tirrannaville||Lightning||24/12/2016||1|
|Lake Rd, Bungendore||Debris Burning||28/12/2016||4.98|
|Collector Rd, Tarago||Power Line||4/01/2017||8.61|
|Bungendore Rd, Tarago||Lightning||18/01/2017||0.1|
|Minshull Rd, Windellama||Mower/ Slasher||27/01/2017||0.1|
|Braidwood Rd, Lake Bathurst||Undetermined||15/02/2017||0.1|
|Tarago Rd, Bungendore||House Fire||19/02/2017||17.57|
|Braidwood Rd, Tirrannaville||Burning Off – Legal||10/03/2017||0.1|