A 14-year-old boy was last night in police custody, charged with deliberately lighting a Delacombe grass fire in the worst Victorian weather conditions since Black Saturday.
As strong winds and high temperatures forced a total fire ban across most of the state, about 20 firefighters moved quickly to contain the blaze, which took hold as the temperature reached 33.3C at 2pm.
An estimated 100sqm of trees and grassland was burnt on Greenhalghs Rd, near Wiltshire Lane, just metres from a housing estate.
Ballarat police criminal investigations unit Detective Senior Constable Paul Jolly said the boy was arrested close to the scene shortly after firefighters arrived.
It’s alleged he sparked the blaze with matches.
Det Sen Const Jolly said the teenager was charged with two counts of causing a bushfire and one count of lighting a fire on a total fire ban day.
He appeared in an out of sessions court hearing late yesterday afternoon where he was remanded in custody to appear in a Children’s Court today.
Det Sen Const Jolly said the quick actions of both nearby residents and firefighters helped avert what could easily have been a disaster.
“It was very reckless and had the potential to be quite volatile due to the weather conditions,” he said
“It was very lucky it was spotted so early and contained so quickly. On a day like this, it could easily have been much worse.”
CFA region 15 operations officer Wayne Rigg said five tankers and one pumper responded to the emergency call, containing the blaze within 15 minutes.
He said it was stopped about an hour later, at 3.10pm but Department of Sustainability and Environment officers were called to remove a number of trees burnt by the blaze.
Mr Rigg said CFA fire investigators were on scene and would aid police with their enquiries.