Coroner blames bushfire on powerline

Coroner blames bushfire on powerline

3 July 2006

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New South Wales, Australia — An electricity provider in New South Wales has been blamed for causing a major bushfire in the state’s central west two years ago.

The deputy state coroner has found the fire started near Parkes, when a tree touched a Country Energy powerline.

The 2004 fire burnt 6,000 hectares, causing the death of 690 sheep and the destruction of thousands of hectares of unharvested crops on 28 farms.

Craig Ward says he is relieved the four-day inquest quashed rumours that his farming machinery sparked the blaze.

“I just gave evidence that I wasn’t in the vicinity of where the fire started,” he said.

“Through the GPS system on the harvester it plots every two seconds where the harvester has been over the period of time your harvesting.”

Mr Ward says he was frustrated by the approach of Country Energy to the trial, which tried to prove his harvester sparked the blaze.

“A little bit frustrating to think that they could try and bully their way. I think the GPS data really threw them,” he said.


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