Escaped burn-off started Wuuluman fire

A fire that burned out more than 2500 hectares east of Wellington was caused by a private burn-off that got out of hand, a report has confirmed.

A fire investigation team looked at the circumstances of the Wuuluman fire and the destruction of a $400,000 fire tanker belonging to the Rural Fire Service.

An RFS spokesperson said there were no suspicious circumstances behind the fire but a report has been compiled and would be handed to police for consideration.

Police will then hand the report to the NSW Coroner, who will then decide whether or not to hold a Coronial Inquest.

The Coroner is notified of fires when damage exceeds $100,000 and has the opportunity to call an inquest if he feels the cause and origin of a fire hasn’t been sufficiently disclosed.

An investigation into the loss of the tanker revealed it became disabled while fighting the Wuuluman fire and had to be abandoned. It was destroyed by the blaze.

“In the process of trying to extinguish the fire, the truck got into rough terrain and was unable to be moved. The crew has had to leave the vehicle and it was overrun by the fire,” the spokesperson said.

“The most important thing was the crew was able to escape without injury.”

The Wuuluman fire broke out on January 11 this year and wasn’t brought under control until five days later.

It remained burning for several days because of the terrain the fire was located in.

Also a result of that terrain and the fire’s proximity to populated areas, some of the RFS’s biggest aircraft were brought in to battle it.

For the first time, the RFS also used helicopters equipped with infrared technology to monitor the fire at night.