A military training exercise ignited the largest of the wildfires that have ravaged Australias most populous state over the past week,investigators said Wednesday.
More than 100 fires have killed one man and destroyed more than 200 homes in New South Wales state since Thursday last week.
Fire investigators found that a massive fire near the city of Lithgow,west of Sydney,began October 16 at a nearby Defence Department training area,and that the blaze was started as a result of live ordnance exercises at the army range,the Rural Fire Service said in a statement.
The fire has burned 47,000 hectares and destroyed several houses,but no injuries or deaths have been reported in the blaze. It was downgraded from the highest emergency category on Wednesday.
The Defence Department declined to comment on the investigators findings,but had earlier confirmed that an explosive ordnance training exercise was conducted October 16. The Defense Department was also investigating any link between the exercise and the fire.