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What caused most of the recent area bushfires?

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
Power lIne 4
Motor vehicle (malfunction) 1
Mower/Slasher 2
Undetermined 2
House Fire 1
Lightning 2

IncidentName

Suspected Cause

StartDate

Total HectaresBurnt

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
Currandooley Power Line 17/01/2017 3386.72
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

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