The beginning of the second week of the coronial inquiry into the 2018 Reedy Swamp/Tathra bushfire has heard state government contractors were aware "many" potential bushfire hazards were being missed.
Under the guidance of Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott, the three-week long inquiry will investigate the origin and cause of the fire, as well as the management of energy infrastructure, the management of fuel loads before the fire and the response of emergency services.
The fire burned through more than 1000 hectares of forest, causing $63.5million worth of damage, and destroying 56 homes and 35 outbuildings in and around Tathra on March 18, 2018.
On Monday, general manager of Essential Energy contractor Asplundh Tree Expert, Brent Kerrisk, told the inquiry an idea had been floated around the time of the fire to improve the handling of dead, dying or structurally unsound trees likely to fall into powerline clearings.
Mr Kerrisk said the increased focus was due to "many" of these hazards not being identified.
Day one of the inquiry heard, investigators believe the fire was likely caused by dead trees, some dead for years and infested with termites, falling on powerlines.
Mr Kerrisk told the inquiry he was concerned to hear four trees had fallen in the easement despite "a lot of foot traffic" by contractors, including an audit by Asplundh.
"I'm not going to say it doesn't raise concern," he said.
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The inquiry heard at least eight visits to the site were made by contractors before the fire, with no dead, dying or structurally unsound trees identified in that time.
While two of those visits involved scoping for hazards, Mr Kerrisk said it was not only scopers who had the ability to raise concerns over potential hazard trees.
He described how subcontractor Pinnacle ArborPro had been tasked with undertaking scoping work at the easement before the fire, and his company with auditing the work.
The inquiry heard the Pinnacle employee tasked with scoping the easement, had later lost his job with the company.
Mr Kerrisk said any defects seen during a fire season were "ordinarily" dealt with in less than one month, and said the company's process for identifying dead, dying or structurally unsound trees has since been improved to include spreadsheets and photographic evidence.
He said Pinnacle had inspected the easement before the 2016 bushfire season, as part of a two-year cycle of inspections, and some cutting work had been completed in early 2017.
Then part-time NSW Fire and Rescue firefighter Cassandra Dickson said after receiving a call to attend the fire station her crew went to the easement, where investigators believe the fire began, after 1.30pm to see eight metre high flames in "fierce" winds.
She told the inquiry, NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters told her crew over the radio, fire was "creeping down the hill" towards a home at 580 Reedy Swamp Rd, and advised to undertake property protection.
Ms Dickson said see did not remember seeing a fallen tree in the easement or on powerlines nearby, and did not see any downed powerlines.