An Elvis helicopter picks up ocean water to protect homes from the Otaways bushfires in Wye River, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. Hot dry weather and a wind change have caused the Christmas day fires to flare up, threatening properties along the Great Ocean Road.
An Elvis helicopter picks up ocean water to protect homes from the Otaways bushfires in Wye River, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. Hot dry weather and a wind change have caused the Christmas day fires to flare up, threatening properties along the Great Ocean Road. AAP Image - Tracey Nearmy

Report says backburning did not cause Christmas bushfires

AN INTERIM report says the Christmas Day bushfires in Victoria which destroyed more than 100 homes in the Wye River area were not caused by backburning.

The report from Inspector-General for Emergency Management Tony Pearce has been given to the Emergency Services Minister and says the fire which flared on Christmas Day was from a result of weather conditions and a tree falling over the control line.

Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the Wye River Jamieson Track fire began with a lightning strike on December 19.

It was declared contained on Thursday after 34 days of intense firefighting.

Mr Lapsley welcomed the interim report and said it acknowledged the backburning strategy was the most appropriate. He also said the report confirmed control strategies and decisions were the right ones in tough circumstances.



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