A LOOSE trailer electrical connection is the suspected cause of a bushfire which burned out 400ha of private forest and grassland between the Bruce Hwy and Bauple, Rural Fire Service area director Warren Edwards said yesterday.
A small army of fire fighters, mostly volunteers, stopped the fire, which had directly threatened three houses and several sheds on Monday.
Mr Edwards said the fire came under control when it ran into properties where two private landowners had burned off.
Mr Edwards had begun emergency strategic talks with forestry and parks service officials, to develop plans to stop the blaze if it got into the large state-owned forestry areas to the north and east of Bauple.
"It didn't get into the state forest or national park areas.
"The main run of the fire went into about 350ha of private land which had been burned off by a private landowner.
"The Bauple Rural Fire Brigade actually burned it off with the owner and the adjacent landholder had burned off 150ha, so there was nothing there to burn except short green grass," he said.
About 20 fire crews, "a couple of urban and about 18 rural brigades" were involved.
"We lost one small garden shed and another larger shed, but saved the houses," he said.
His preliminary investigation of the fire had found its starting point, right beside the bitumen on the Bruce Hwy.
There he found a burned trailer connection which had apparently been dragging on the road when it came loose and rolled, red hot, into grass.
Officers would patrol the area today to prevent any rekindling of the blaze, he said.