Day eight of the coronial inquiry into the 2018 Reedy Swamp/Tathra bushfire has investigated the standards of tree hazard identification before the fire, and the questioning by one firefighter of backburning tactics on the day of the fire.
The inquiry heard on Wednesday, Michael Jonas, who was employed by subcontractor Pinnacle ArborPro as a powerline easement scoper, lost his job with the company because he had "missed a few trees", or potential hazards.
Mr Jonas said after his employment was terminated, areas he had scoped were double checked for any possible mistakes.
The inquiry, which began last week, earlier heard dead trees, infested with termites, likely fell on powerlines, igniting the fire which burned through more than 1000 hectares of forest, causing $63.5million worth of damage, and destroying 56 homes and 35 outbuildings.
The inquiry heard satellite data placed Mr Jonas at the easement, where investigators believe the fire began, on December 12, 2016.
Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott said Mr Jonas had entered information into an iPad noting cut and stacked timber outside the easement, and a photograph of an overhanging tree into the easement.
Mr Jonas said he was "surprised" to still see an overhang, despite the cutting work being completed two months earlier.
The inquiry had earlier heard Mr Jonas had lost his job for failing to identify the correct cutting equipment for hazards. However, he denied that was the case.
He told the inquiry he had been told by his employer his scoping work had created "auditing problems", but couldn't say what the problems were, or where they had occurred.
Mr Jonas said he felt he was sufficiently trained to do the subcontracted work.
"I just chose the trees that were dying, and looked like a hazard,' he said.
"If we thought they [trees] would fall, we'd get them removed."
The inquiry heard easements were checked for hazards on a two-year cycle.
Meanwhile, former NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer and Reedy Swamp resident Katherine Purnell told the inquiry she had concerns about the backburning practices of her Tarraganda brigade members around Lilli Pilli Rd on the day of the fire.
Ms Purnell told the inquiry she was the only member of the crew not to be interviewed by NSW Police after the fire.
"I was just guessing, obviously, that they didn't need my information," she said.
She told the inquiry she later provided a five page statement because she thought "people should know the truth of what happened that day".
Ms Purnell, who has since resigned from the RFS over what she called "bad practices", described weather conditions on the day as "terrible", adding there was too much smoke to see the fire front or embers.
The inquiry heard Tarraganda captain Peter van Bracht had reportedly undertaken a number of "futile" backburns at Reedy Swamp in an attempt to protect property.
"It definitely wasn't the conditions to be doing any backburning, or lighting any more fires," Ms Purnell told the inquiry.
Ms Purnell's husband Warren told the inquiry he felt he wasn't high enough ranked within the crew to question the backburning.
NSW Police senior constable and Tarraganda volunteer firefighter Christopher Reeve told the inquiry Ms Purnell had raised her concerns with him on the day while they were alone in one of the crew's fire trucks.
He said while he was "a little bit" concerned about the backburning, he later realised it was the "most logical thing to do".
He told the inquiry the backburn did not add to the fire front as it had already passed through the area.
Tarraganda crew member Ryan Deen told the inquiry he did not witness a backburn being undertaken that day.
Mr van Bracht told the inquiry communications were so bad on the day he was unable to stay in communication with fire control.
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.
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