NSW bushfires: 'There was no conspiracy here'

Defence Department believed to have started massive State Mine blaze

NSW Rural Fire Service crews mop up an area after stopping a fire from impacting on a property at Bilpin, in the Blue Mountains. Photo / AAP
NSW Rural Fire Service crews mop up an area after stopping a fire from impacting on a property at Bilpin, in the Blue Mountains. Photo / AAP

A massive fire burning in the NSW Blue Mountains found to have been started by a Defence training exercise was clearly unintentional, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says.

Defence will be provided with a copy of the RFS report into the State Mine blaze today.

The RFS on Wednesday revealed an investigation had found a Defence training exercise was responsible the blaze, which has burnt out more than 46,000 hectares and sparked fears of a "mega-fire".

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Mr Fitzsimmons says Defence is a "partner" in firefighting on many occasions, and he understands the fire was a side effect.

"It wasn't deliberate, it was a side effect of a routine activity ... and clearly there was not intention to see fire start up and run as a result of that activity," he told reporters at RFS headquarters today.

He said defence "worked intimately" with local bushfire committees and authorities on bushfire management across NSW.

Defence on Saturday said it had launched an investigation into whether the State Mine fire was caused by an exercise on army land at Marrangaroo, north of Lithgow.

"They (Defence) have been fully co-operative from the outset," Mr Fitzsimmons added.

"There was no conspiracy here."

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Mr Fitzsimmons said it was "so disappointing" that two eight-year-old boys had been caught by police trying to light a fire at East Maitland on Wednesday night.

"As a parent myself I don't get it," he said.

"Lighting fires is a crime no matter your background, no matter your age, no matter your location."

The fire commissioner also defended the RFS approach to the extreme fire danger on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people left the Blue Mountains on the advice of the RFS, which warned if they weren't fully prepared to defend their homes from fire they should leave.

However no homes were lost on Wednesday.

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"I would much rather be sitting here today copping criticism no matter how invalid I think they are, for doing what we thought was the right thing," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"You cannot ignore the gravity of what was presented."

There were 65 bushfires burning across the state this morning, with 24 uncontained.

Still of concern were three fires in the Blue Mountains - at Springwood, Lithgow and Mt Victoria - as well as the blaze burning near Balmoral, in the southern highlands.

There were more than 1000 firefighters still out in the field.

The RFS could begin standing down some interstate crews on Thursday.

A man rides past a car burnt out by recent bush fires in Springwood in the Blue Mountains. Photo / AFP
A man rides past a car burnt out by recent bush fires in Springwood in the Blue Mountains. Photo / AFP

Mr Fitzsimmons said the fire situation across NSW was still "very dynamic" with high winds to peak around noon.

But cooler conditions brought by a southerly airstream would probably continue until Tuesday or Wednesday next week, before hot conditions and northwesterly winds returned.

- AAP

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