The Supreme Court in Victoria, Australia has approved a payout of A$494 million ($406 million) to survivors and families after 119 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, 125,000 hectares (309,000 acres) burned, and 1,172 homes and properties were destroyed in a bushfire in Victoria on February 7, 2009.
Below are excerpts from an article at ABC.net.au:
The action, which involved about 5,000 people, was taken against power distributor SP AusNet and asset manager Utility Services Group. The defendants have denied liability.
The case came about after the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found the Kilmore East-Kinglake bushfire was caused by an ageing SP AusNet power line.
Parties including SP AusNet and the Victorian Government had agreed to the $500 million settlement but it required the court’s approval.
SP AusNet has agreed to pay $378.6 million, while Utility Services Corporation Ltd will pay $12.5 million.
The Victorian Government, which includes Victoria Police and the Country Fire Authority, have agreed to pay $103.6 million.
At least one of the fires exhibited very extreme fire behavior, as we reported on May 21, 2009. Fire behavior expert Dr. Kevin Tolhurst determined that spot fires occurred a record 35 kilometers (21 miles) ahead of the main fire.