Marysville fire ‘covered 2kms in 5 mins’

Marysville fire ‘covered 2kms in 5 mins’

6 October 2009

published by

Australia —

The Bushfires Royal Commission has been told that a backburn lit in Marysville as a bushfire approached put the lives of firefighters in danger on Black Saturday.

The fire travelled two kilometres in the first five minutes.

The commission heard the Department of Sustainability started backburning on the southern side of Marysville, at Kings Road at 6:30pm, but a wind change quickly forced a retreat to the town’s oval.

There was standing room only in the hearing room for the start of the evidence relating to the Marysville fire.

Two weeks of hearings will include an examination of the wisdom of that backburn.

The commission will not hear any evidence about the cause of the fire, which is thought to be suspicious, because of the ongoing police investigation.

Forty people died in the fire and hundreds of homes in Marysville, Narbethong, Buxton and Taggerty were destroyed.

The commission has also heard evidence from a Department of Sustainability and Environment fire spotter who saw the fire ignite at the Murrindindi mill just before 3pm on Black Saturday.

Colin Hind told the commission that he rang the Glenburn fire station and advised them to “throw everything they had” at the fire, which was moving at speeds of 25 kilometres an hour.

He then abandoned his tower.

The captain of the Glenburn fire brigade David Webb Ware was also among the first on the scene of the Murrindindi mill fire.

He told the commission that what began as a grass fire had already got into a pine plantation and was crowning as soon as it hit the trees.

Mr Webb Ware said there was “absolutely no possibility” of controlling the fire and it was “pointless” doing anything to fight it.

He said it was clear that firefighters were not going to be able to hold the fire when the wind changed, and he conveyed that concern to his boss.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien