Devastating Rappville blaze caused by 'human intervention'
A CORONIAL inquest will be held to investigate the bushfire which devastated the tiny village of Rappville and burned down 30 homes.
An investigation has now ruled out that the fire was started by natural sources.
Rural Fire Services Northern Zone Manager Superintendent Michael Brett confirmed that RFS investigators working with NSW Police arson investigators came to the conclusion that the Busbys Flat fire was caused by "human intervention".
The fire ravaged the landscape, burning more than 50,000ha.
"The fire investigators have concluded that human intervention has caused this fire; this was not caused by a natural source such as lightning," Supt Brett said.
"We don't yet know the reasons - they could be misadventure, accidental or deliberate."
Supt Brett said fire investigators had referred the matter back to a coronial inquest because of the significant level of damage caused by the fire.
"The police will put together a brief to the corner," he said.
Last month NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said anyone who would put lives at risk would face the full force of the law.
"It really is a bastard act if you are going to put your own community at risk," he said.
In NSW there are heavy penalties for people convicted of deliberately lighting a fire.
A person convicted to recklessly or intentionally causing a bush fire can be jailed for up to 14 years and where a person deliberately lights a bush fire to damage the life of another person, the person can be jailed for up to 25 years.
Recent amendments to the Rural Fires Act have substantially increased fines for deliberately lit fires.
Anyone who lights a fire on a day of total fire ban can be fined $2200.
If a person allows a fire to escape their property on a day of total fire ban, fines of up to $132,000 may apply, or prison terms of seven year.
Anyone with any information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.