Army live-fire drill starts Qld grass fire

Army live-fire drill starts Qld grass fire

25 October 2013

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Australia — AN army live-fire exercise sparked a Queensland grassfire on Monday, the Department of Defence says.

Defence has already admitted that explosives training started the massive State Mine Fire in Lithgow, NSW, last week.

That fire has since scorched 50,000 hectares of land and destroyed three homes.

Defence has now confirmed a blaze at the Wide Bay Training Area near Tin Can Bay, north of the Sunshine Coast, started during a routine live ammunition exercise.

The fire started about noon (AEST) on Monday and is currently restricted to defence land.

It has caused no damage to equipment or civilian property, a defence spokesman says.

But it has scorched a square kilometre of land, with containment lines in place around it.

“At the time of the training activity, there was no fire ban in place and weather conditions were favourable for the activity to occur,” a defence spokesman said.

The area is covered by Gympie Regional Council.

Deputy mayor Tony Perrett said the fire was unfortunate, but the army should regulate its behaviour during dry weather.

“It doesn’t take much for one spark to create a situation that could get out of control,” he told AAP.

“I hope the army will learn from this and where possible modify their training program in future to reflect current conditions.”

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