The defence department has apologised for starting the biggest blaze in the NSW bushfire crisis but some Blue Mountains residents don't think "sorry" goes far enough.
Acting Chief of Defence, Air Marshall Mark Binskin on Thursday offered an apology over the massive State Mine Fire that has destroyed three homes and burned through nearly 50,000 hectares of land west of Sydney.
The bushfire continues to rage at emergency level between Lithgow and the Blue Mountains more than a week after it was sparked by explosives training on army land at Marangaroo on October 16.
Blue Mountains resident Erin Cater said no one should criticise the army, but she said it would be fair for people who lost their homes to receive more than an apology.
"I don't reckon that's enough honestly ... they should offer the people some compensation," she said.
Paul Andrews, another local, said the incident had created "incredible anxiety" but he said it was good the army was being transparent.
Air Marshall Binskin said a small fire that started during a routine training exercise was responsible for the blaze.
"I do apologise, because it has been identified that this fire was the start of this mine fire," he told reporters at Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney on Thursday.
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said the apology was a positive gesture.
"I think this is a really open sign and I think it's a sign that defence is going to work close with the RFS ... so that we can find out what happened and take steps to stop it happening again," he said.
While Air Marshall Binskin said Defence was "not shying from our responsibilities", he stopped short of offering compensation.
Deputy Fire Commissioner Rob Rogers said it wasn't known exactly what went wrong.
"When fires start, where there's human intervention, there's carelessness and then there's just simply accidents happening," he said at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains.
"I think it would be prejudging to suggest there was any sort of negligence."
Air Marshall Binskin said the decision to go ahead with the training exercise was made on a day of light winds and 23 degree-temperatures.
"The fire (danger) was on the lower end of the scale and there was not a fire ban," he said.
Defence personnel acted quickly after an explosion started a small fire but were hampered by the live ordnance around them.
RFS crews arrived within half an hour, Air Marshall Binskin said.
"It was considered too dangerous to go onto the particular site where the fire had started to burn, so they waited till it cleared that area and then started to fight it," he told reporters.
"This was not deliberately starting a fire, this was an accident as part of a training activity on a day there wasn't a fire ban."
Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said he didn't know how many hours the fire burned before the RFS was able to work on it.
"The fire occurred on a live firing range ... you can't send firefighters or fire trucks into a live firing range," he said.
"Nor can you put aircraft above or into close proximity to assist in water bombing."
Air Marshall Binskin said the force's in-house investigation into could prompt changes to training procedures around Australia.