Bushfire inquiry visits fire-affected NSW

An independent NSW inquiry into the summer's unprecedented bushfires is visiting affected areas.
An independent NSW inquiry into the summer's unprecedented bushfires is visiting affected areas.

An independent NSW inquiry into the summer's unprecedented bushfires is well underway with visits to affected regions about to kick off in earnest.

The inquiry, announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian in January, received more than 70 submissions within a week.

Former NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens, who is leading the inquiry with former NSW chief scientist Professor Mary O'Kane, said they were doing a flyover of the Snowy Mountains area on Friday.

On Monday they will travel to the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains areas where their activities include meeting NSW Rural Fire Service incident management teams, before a community meeting in Lithgow on Tuesday night.

Mr Owens said they plan to return to the Hawkesbury area for a community meeting but were still settling dates.

"It is full on, as I said, we're reading on the run, we're starting early, we're finishing very late - but you know, if that's my biggest issue, I think we're doing pretty well," Mr Owens told AAP on Thursday.

The six-month inquiry will consider a range of issues including causes and factors contributing to the summer's devastating fires, preparation and planning, hazard reduction and emergency responses.

Mr Owens hopes fire-communities would feel at the end of it that they had an opportunity to have their say.

The former police commissioner can empathise with what people are going through after losing a Sydney home to fire seven years ago, before his Lake Conjola holiday home was spared this summer.

"It's a different perspective now because I'm one of a number of properties that weren't damaged, living in a community that was absolutely devastated by those fires," he said.

"We've opened up our home, I've met neighbours I didn't even know existed, met some very good friends now moving forward and trying to make some changes and some difference for them as well."

Submissions to the inquiry are open until March 27, but the deadline can be extended for those directly affected by fires.

The schedule for community visits will be posted to the inquiry website as details are confirmed.

Australian Associated Press