The man who started the New Year's Eve fire near Long Point which burned out 475 hectares after he illegally set off fireworks has pleaded guilty in Orange Local Court.
Evidence in the case shows the man made several valiant attempts to extinguish the fire, including swimming across the Macquarie River with a fire extinguisher to try and quench the flames, which were ignited when a skyrocket exploded in the wrong direction.
Lance Pennings sat quietly as his solicitor entered a plea of guilty to the charge of setting fire to land owned by the Crown and private owners in the Long Point area.
Although police say Pennings was extremely apologetic and remorseful when told about the damage caused by the fire, police estimate it cost the community $1.5 million.
Read the full story in tomorrow's Central Western Daily.