Probe finds Harrietville fire spread unavoidable

A REVIEW has found the Harrietville Fire spreading to burn 37,000 hectares of Alpine National Park was unavoidable.

THE Harrietville Fire spreading to burn 37,000 hectares of Alpine National Park was unavoidable, according to Emergency Services Commissioner Michael Hallowes’ review into the fire.

The report was released yesterday morning and while no recommendations were made, the man charged with reviewing the first 72 hours of the fire did reach a set of conclusions.

With the fire on the North West Spur spotting a few hundred metres past containment lines into a steep and densely vegetated, inaccessible area on Tuesday, January 22, the response between 2.25pm Monday, January 21, when the lightning strike occurred, to its spreading was adequate.

“There is no information to support a view that any additional weight of attack would have prevented the fire from escaping,” Mr Hallowes said.  

“Extra resources were only called for when the fire did flare up and escape the initial containment.”

Mr Hallowes defined two key themes framed from residents’ primary concerns, namely the sufficiency and adequacy of the first and extended attacks and the relationships between local CFA, DSE and the community.

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