A planned burn-off that broke containment lines and went on to destroy homes near Lancefield in central Victoria was under-staffed and poorly planned, an independent report has found.
The investigation into last month’s fire found “significant shortcomings” in the way Victoria’s environment department carries out planned burn-offs and communicates with the community.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) secretary Adam Fennessy repeatedly apologised for the failures at a community meeting in Lancefield this morning.
“I am very sorry and deeply sorry for the distress this fire has caused you and the disruption and enormous impacts it’s had on your lives,” Mr Fennessy said.
“When this planned burn escaped containment lines it threatened you, it threatened your properties, it threatened you as a community, and we let you down.”