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Fire, gun experts offer to help hunter accused of starting bushfire

Experts on fires and firearms are offering to help a Dunedin hunter fight the Otago Rural Fire Authority which is fining him over a bushfire.

Tim Dodds is accused of starting a bushfire he called in himself, and charged more than $60k. Source: Seven Sharp

Tom Dodds has been accused of starting the fire, which he called in, and he's been charged more than $60,000 by the fire authority for the cost of putting it out. 

Seven Sharp reported earlier in the week that the fire investigator believes Mr Dodds' bullet ricocheted off a rock, bounced 80 metres and hit another rock, which caused the fire 45  minutes later.

The programme reported last night it has received a lot of feedback on the case, including expert opinions from fire and firearms investigators.

One was straight to the point, calling the authority's version of events impossible.

Tom Dodds, a 22-year-old painter, has just three weeks to pay $61k – for helping the Otago Rural Fire Authority put out a fire. Source: Seven Sharp

Another, with 40 years experience, had never heard of a bullet causing a fire.

A third expert said Mr Dodds was a scapegoat and the the fire authority was trying to pass the buck because they don't have the evidence. 

All have offered to help Mr Dodds with his case and he's confident he can beat this, the programme reported. 

Seven Sharp approached the Otago Rural Fire Authority for comment several times yesterday, but they didn't return the programme's calls.