On the 28th September 2015, the NSW Deputy State Coroner made the following recommendations to the Minister for Emergency Services.
The findings and recommendations have not been well received by all persons. Feel free to add your comments to this article. We will publish any sensible feedback.Warrumbungles-findings-final-28-08-15.pdf (401 downloads)
The following statement appears in the findings:
I find that the fire that broke out at the Wambelong Camp Ground on 12 January 2013 probably originated to the west of the camping ground on one of the banks of the Wambelong Creek. The evidence does not enable me to determine the cause of the fire.
Recommendations to the Minister for Emergency Services
1. That the Rural Fire Service consider proposing an arrangement with the Bureau of Meteorology to deploy weather balloons specifically for the purpose of assessing atmospheric instability during periods of severe to catastrophic fire danger in locations most likely to be severely affected, for example, areas in which a very high C-Haines index reading is registered and local fires have been identified.
2. Alternatively, I recommend that the RFS consider developing such capacity to deploy weather balloons itself, in conjunction with mobile weather stations, for this purpose.
3. That the Rural Fire Service consider redrafting the disclaimer in its fire predictions to make abundantly clear where the potential errors or omissions may affect the prediction and how to detect them if they are there (for example, by comparing them with linescans) and what other factors (such as VLS) may affect the predictions and in what way.
4. That the Rural Fire Service consider amending its fire prediction reports to include a checklist of significant factors that have not been able to be considered in the prediction model and a warning to be alert for them and seek intelligence on them from fire ground managers.
5. That in Class 3 fire-fighting operations, the Rural Fire Service consider including a fire behaviour analyst in the incident management team if feasible.
6. That the Rural Fire Service consider extending pre-emptive section 44 to whole of Castlereagh RFS/Warrumbungle Shire area.
7. That the Rural Fire Service together with other land managers develop a program whereby local stakeholders come together regularly (every 2 months during non-fire season and monthly during the fire season) to share intelligence and to consider hazard and incident management measures for implementation.
Recommendations to the Minister for Emergency Services and the Minister for the Environment
8. That the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service consider adopting the approach to fire classification suggested by Mr Conway that “classification and resourcing of the fire ground response and incident management capability should reflect the potential of the fire rather than observed fire behaviour.”1 1 Report  p.7 
9. That the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service introduce training, exercises or information packages, or other suitable forms of professional development, for operational fire fighters and analysts concerning the potential l effects of atmospheric instability and vorticity-driven lateral spread on fire behaviours in severe-catastrophic fire danger conditions.
10. That the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service consider developing a land management policy that requires active engagement with property owners adjoining the Park to ensure that hazard reduction and asset protection is encouraged and undertaken before the bush fire season commences.
11. That the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service consider amending their protocols for upgrading advices to higher levels to emphasise the significance and urgency of raising warning levels as soon as the potential dangers of fire to lives or property materially increase.
12. That the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service review the procedures for requesting aerial support in ‘severe’ or worse fire conditions to ensure that delays in providing it are reduced to the minimum time possible.
Recommendations to the Minister for the Environment
13. That the National Parks and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the relevant local Council(s), devise a policy that enables the John Renshaw Parkway to be closed at either end of the Warrumbungle National Park during a bush fire in such a way that its closure would not impede access by emergency services vehicles into the park.
14. That the National Parks and Wildlife Service consider incorporating “worst-case scenario” training, as proposed in Mr Conway’s report, in its suite of fire-fighting protocols, exercises and training packages for senior incident controllers and other senior managers.
15. That the National Parks and Wildlife Service consider reviewing its guidelines and protocols in respect of hazard reduction planning and burning-off operations in the light of the evidence from experts witnesses in these proceedings that the incidence of, and intensity of, major fires is increasing and in the light of expert evidence given in these proceedings concerning the dangers of vorticity-driven lateral spread.
16. That the National Parks and Wildlife Service review its protocols for control of Class 1 fires under its control to ensure that incident controllers managing fires in ‘severe’ or worse fire conditions receive as much incident management planning support as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.  
17. That the National Parks and Wildlife Service review its procedures for monitoring Class 1 fires occurring in ‘severe’ or worse fire conditions that cannot be reconnoitred at ground level adequately due to terrain or dangerous conditions, and consider including aerial surveillance (if reasonably practicable) as a standard procedure in such circumstances.
18. That during periods of ‘severe’ or worse fire conditions, that the National Parks and Wildlife Service consider adopting a posture of pre-emptive planning and deployment of incident management teams in national parks similar to the manner in which the Rural Fire Service does.
19. That as part of the adoption of such a posture in ‘severe’ or worse fire conditions, the National Parks and Wildlife Service consider alerting, at an early stage, all relevant persons and organisations, such as shire councils, heavy plant operators, the local RFS captains, Fire & Rescue NSW and other emergency services, that it is doing so, and that their assistance may be required at short notice.
20. That the National Park and Wildlife Service review its fire weather training regime and consider adopting or adapting the fire weather training courses introduced in Victoria following the 2009 bushfire disaster.
21. That National Parks and Wildlife Service conduct a review of its hazard reduction policies to ensure all assets within and on the boundary of the Park are clearly identified and an adequate policy or management plan exists for the protection of all assets, including a procedure pursuant to which progress in meeting hazard reduction targets is regularly and comprehensively assessed. We note that the Parliamentary Inquiry included a recommendation as to funding to be made available for prescribed burning.
22. The National Parks and Wildlife Service conduct a review of its prescribed burns program to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that all necessary managerial approvals for a prescribed burn are provided as promptly as possible.
23. The National Parks and Wildlife Service consider developing a land management policy that requires hazard reduction around identified assets within the Park and the clearing of fire trials within the Park before the bush fire season commences. Consideration should also be given to developing additional fire trails in the Park, bearing in mind the lack of available fire trails to the south of the John Renshaw Parkway in the park.