11:34 24 October 2013
It has been confirmed that the massive fire that run the length of Australia’s Bells Line of Road was accidentally caused by the Defence Department during an army training exercise.
According to the investigation carried out by Rural Fire Service, the fire ripped through more than 47,000 hectares of bushland last week.
The Defence Department, which initially refused to comment about the matter, released a statement on Wednesday saying that it was aware of the report and continued to ''co-operate fully with NSW authorities investigating the State Mine fire, including the NSW Police Force investigators who will prepare a report for the Coroner''.
Acting Defence Minister George Brandis said in a statement: ''The Australian government and the Australian Defence Force take this issue very seriously and continue to fully cooperate with the New South Wales authorities, including the New South Wales Police, who are investigating the fire.”
A source who requested anonymity said the incident took place partly because of a lack of resources. The source said: ''There is just an amazingly casual approach to the whole thing, with no mitigation plans in place at all. They have known for a couple of years that these plans don't exist but they don't do anything about it because there is no money. They are supposed to have site-specific fire management plans.''
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