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Environment Minister Bill Marmion said he will take full responsibility for the Margaret River bushfires if an inquiry finds his department is at fault.


What started off as a prescribed burn in the Augusta-Margaret River shire, has now destroyed 30 houses, four sheds and nine chalets and the blame game has begun.

The fire is a result of an escape from a prescribed burn the Department of Environment and Conservation had conducted in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park over the past ten weeks.

Residents affected by the fire want to know why prescribed burns were happening in such hot, windy conditions.

This afternoon Environment Minister, Bill Marmion, couldn't explain to the media why his department was conducting a controlled burn at the time.

He said there will be a full investigation once the fire has been extinguished. If that investigation finds his department is at fault, he says he'll take full responsibility.

Mr Marmion said, "The buck does stop with me unfortunately so it's my responsibility and it'll be my responsibility to make sure there'll be a proper review and if we can improve the process, we will."

At this stage it's not clear when an inquiry will take place but the Minister said his department wouldn't look into it until after the fire had been extinguished.

The Department of Environment and Conservation said this morning that it would be at least a week until the area is safe.

The Premier, Colin Barnett, spoke to the media this afternoon and said there will be a full investigation into the fire but he didn't want to lay blame.

He said, "When you live in a heavily timbered area with high levels of undergrowth there is always that risk.

"That's not to excuse it or simply dismiss the issue. It will be thoroughly investigated but fire is always a risk in an area like Margaret River."

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/11/25/3376959.htm , 25 Nov 11