Military exercise sparked biggest wildfire in Australia

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service said a military training exercise sparked the largest of the wildfires that have ravaged the Australian state.

A shot of the bushfire billowing smoke from the tree canopy.
Investigators found the bushfire near Lithgow in New South Wales was caused by an army training exercise. Credit: Reuters TV

Fire investigators found that a massive fire near the city of Lithgow, west of Sydney, began on 16 October at a nearby Defence Department training area, and that the blaze was started as a result of live ordnance exercises at the army range.

A fire still burning.
The fire has scorched 47,000 hectares (180 square miles) and destroyed at least three houses. Credit: Reuters TV

The fire has scorched 47,000 hectares (180 square miles) and destroyed at least three houses, but no injuries or deaths have been reported.

A firefighter hoses down a fire.
The Defence Department declined to comment on the investigators' findings. Credit: Reuters TV

The Defence Department declined to comment on the investigators' findings, but confirmed earlier that an explosive ordnance training exercise was conducted on that date

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Oz wildfires: Weather 'to worsen'

Thousands of firefighters in Australia are continuing to battle dozens of wildfires raging in New South Wales as weather conditions are set to worsen. The country's rural fire service chief has warned "the worst of the weather is still to come."