Public hearings would help bushfire victims, says mayor

Blue Mountains mayor, Mark Greenhill, has urged the premier to allow public hearings into the state government's bushfire inquiry.

Gone: A house destroyed at Bell during December's fires in the Mountains.

Gone: A house destroyed at Bell during December's fires in the Mountains.

The six-month inquiry, headed by former NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens and former NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane, will look at the causes, preparation and response to this season's bushfires across the state.

It is expected to focus on the impact of climate change, fuel loads and drought as well as the role of hazard reduction.

It will not have public hearings but will take submissions from the public.

In a letter sent to Gladys Berejiklian last Friday, Cr Greenhill urged a change of heart.

He wrote: "In my time as mayor I have experienced both the recent 2019/20 bush fires and the October 2013 fires where around 200 homes were destroyed in my city in an afternoon.

"As mayor, I chaired the local recovery process that followed with the deputy mayor and these experiences tell me that communities would gain a great deal if your inquiry were held in public. This is the most transparent way forward and it would aid in healing."

Submissions to the inquiry can be made at https://www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/projects-and-initiatives/make-a-submission-to-the-bushfire-inquiry/. Submissions close March 27 but can be extended for people directly affected by the fires.