Three questioned over bushfire lighting

Three questioned over bushfire lighting

21 December 2006

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Australia — Police are interviewing three people suspected of lighting fiveblazes north of Hobart today.

The fires were lit in the Colebrook area this morning on a day of total fireban but have since been brought under control.

The outbreaks came as Tasmanian firefighters braced themselves for a flare upof bushfire activity amid extreme weather warnings.

Inspector Glen Woolley of Bridgewater Police said three people were assistingBellerive detectives with their investigation.

“Five fires were found to have been deliberately lit within theColebrook area this morning. All fires are now either under control or have beenextinguished,” Insp Woolley said.

He thanked the public for their assistance in helping to identify the allegedarsonists.

“Deliberately lighting fires is a crime where strong penalties, whichmay include a prison term, can be applied by the courts,” he said.

“Lighting a fire on a day of total ban, whether there is criminal intentor not, can result in widespread property devastation as we have seen on theeast coast recently.”

Meanwhile, the bushfire emergency eased today with warm, windy conditionsfailing to eventuate.

Light rain fell in the northeast, hampering backburning efforts around the StMarys-Scamander fire.

Containment lines have been completed around Elephant Pass and firefightersare hoping to resume backburning tomorrow, weather permitting.

The blaze has blacked out more than 28,000ha.

At Kellevie, east of Hobart, firefighters were able to take advantage of mildweather overnight to reinforce containment lines.

The bushfire has scorched more than 14,000ha.

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