Little work done to predict path of Marysville fire

Little work done to predict path of Marysville fire

7 October 2009

published by

Australia —

The Bushfires Royal Commission has heard no serious work was done by those managing the Marysville fire, to predict where it would burn.

Incident controller Andrew Miller from Parks Victoria has told the Royal Commission that some “rudimentary” predictive mapping was done, but only on a map fixed to the wall of the Alexandra incident control centre.

Mr Miller said at the time, he believed that was adequate for his purposes.

The inquiry was also told that in the vital early stages of the blaze, the two fire agencies were each moving their firefighters around independently.

But Mr Miller rejected suggestions there was no unified first attack.

The commission heard a suitably qualified incident controller was not appointed to the fire until the following morning, after it had razed Marysville.

Mr Miller has told the commission he never spoke to the Marysville brigade, or the one in neighbouring Narbethong, as fire threatened the towns.

He also said he never considered evacuating people or protecting the Marysville oval where residents were gathering.

The Commission has heard the fire was clearly unstoppable, of terrifying speed and stature.

But today Mr Miller told the inquiry there had been no urgency in the voice of the fire spotter who made that report.

He had hoped the fire would burn in the bush for two or three hours, giving firefighters time to come up with a strategy.

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

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.

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