Australia — Two young boys have now been charged with lighting the most recent bushfire that also sent one man to hospital.
Police said the boys, aged 11 and 14, were arrested and charged after lighting the blaze in the bushland near Wallinga Pl, Airds about 4pm yesterday.
Residents had to be evacuated from their homes and one man was taken to hospital for observation.
Unfortunately, the fire was not a one-off. Arsonists across the Campbelltown region have been out in force since September, recording a 400 per cent increase in bush and grass fires compared to the same period in 2011.
Macarthur Rural Fire Service figures stated crews had already attended more than 40 bush and grass fires since September 1.
RFS Supt Jason Heffernan said the increase in fires was unacceptable.
“Already this season weve seen a 400 per cent increase in bush and grass fires compared with last year and a number of those have been deliberately lit,” he said.
“I would be conservative if I said greater than 90 per cent were deliberately lit.”
Supt Heffernan warned the NSW RFS had zero tolerance of arson and would provide NSW Police with any information relating to offenders.
“Bush fire arson is not only a criminal offence, it also puts people and properties in grave danger,” he said.
“There is no place for arson in the community. Our volunteer firefighters have enough on their plate without having to deal with deliberately lit fires.
“Campbelltown residents need to be particularly vigilant this bush fire season and assist us by reporting any unattended fires to Triple Zero (000) immediately.”
Campbelltown police acting Supt Ward Hanson said people should report any suspicious behaviour.
“Police will investigate all suspicious bushfires and will prosecute those responsible,” he said.
“Penalties include up to 25 years imprisonment.”
Anyone with information about fires in their area should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The boys charged over yesterday’s fire were refused bail and will appear before Campbelltown Childrens Court today. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.