Victorian Fires May Have Been Started By 'Failed Backburn'

14/01/2016 9:02 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Fairfax Media

A controversial backburning operation, carried out despite warnings of potential catastrophe, may have led to the Christmas Day devastation of the Wye River township, leaked files reveal.

The confidential state government files reveal that three days after a lightning strike on December 19 caused a small, half-hectare blaze to begin near Wye River, Victorian fire officials ordered a controlled burn operation which included the dropping of small fireballs from aircraft.

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