As the Yankees Gap bushfire comes under the control of firefighters, NSW Police have confirmed their investigation into the start of the blaze is nearing its end.
South Coast Police District Chief Inspector Peter Volf said Bega detectives are nearing the end of an investigation that began in August.
I’ve been watching it get out of control, and the icing on the cake from the whole saga is that the whole thing could happen again next year.Yankees Gap resident
It’s believed the burn began on a rural property before escaping into nearby bushland.
One resident who lives near the property where the burn allegedly began said she had concerns over people’s safety as early as a week before it was deemed out of control by authorities.
She said given the region’s drought and climate change, more power should be given to authorities to bring in tighter restrictions on burning before the official start to a fire season.
“The season can’t just start from a certain date. Something needs to change,” she said.
“People who have lost homes have done absolutely nothing wrong.
“I look out my window and the beautiful green mountains around me are just brown. It’s heartbreaking to see the destruction.
“It was absolute paradise here and now it’s a sad and sorry looking mess,” she said.
While the fire still burns, it was “contained” by firefighters after 44 days in which it threatened Bemboka, Numbugga, and Brogo, destroying four homes and almost 20,000 hectares of forest.
This year, 10 local government areas in the state's north-east had their official fire season brought forward to August 1.
“We have front row seats, and we just watched the fire get bigger,” the resident said.
“I’ve been watching it get out of control, and the icing on the cake from the whole saga is that the whole thing could happen again next year.”
The resident says she contacted emergency services on four separate occasions while it was classified as “out of control”.
“We are lucky nobody died, and I wonder how many animals have died,” she said.
“In the last week I’ve seen white helicopters hovering over where we could see the fire begin. There’s been a lot of activity there.”