LOCALS have raised concerns over the independent panel appointed to investigate how a planned burn at Lancefield went so disastrously wrong.
Hundreds of people fled and four houses were lost when a planned burn jumped containment lines on Grand Final Day.
The fire burned for nearly two weeks.
Environment Minister Lisa Neville asked the director of the Office of Bushfire Risk Management, Murray Carter, to investigate.
But residents have been worried by revelations that Mr Carter had been Western Australia’s chief fire officer when, in 2011, a planned burn in Margaret River got out of control and claimed 34 houses.
At a government inquiry into the fire, Mr Carter defended the department’s decision to back-burn in the area, despite¬≠ warnings against it from environmentalists.
Resident Marcus Ward, 62, said: “I am impressed the minister is to have an independent panel, but I am shocked by who she chose. The community wants to know what went wrong and how to fix the system, and I am worried about the impartiality.”
Hayley McNaughton, speaking on behalf of Mrs Neville¬≠, said Mr Carter had no operational role in the Margaret River fire, and he had years of experience in parks and fire management, and in planned burning in particular.
“The Government acted quickly and announced an independent investigation into what happened, which commenced last week,” she said.
“The investigation is due to report in mid-November, and all findings from the inquiry will be made public,” she said.