Australia Authorities have more than 250 people under surveillance as potential firebugs at the start of the summer bushfire danger season in South Australia.
Police warned fines or jail time would be imposed on anyone involved in reckless or suspicious behaviour that led to a fire.
“Police will be monitoring about 82 people who pose a high or significant risk during the summer months, and there are a further 170 who are of a lower risk,” Assistant Commissioner Noel Bamford said.
“This follows the 139 deliberate or suspicious fire incidents last season.
“With a total of more than 660 fires last season, many were caused by recklessness or negligence.”
Assistant Commissioner Bamford said everyone could play a role in keeping South Australia safe.
“Every time you’re out for a hike, run, drive or picnic, please pay attention to what else is happening around you,” he said.
“The police can only do so much. We’re asking every member of the community to think about it when they’re out and about.” Bushfire prone areas:
More than 35 Adelaide fringe suburbs are risk areas More than 75 towns in the Adelaide Hills, on Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island are bushfire prone There are 75 other SA rural towns in danger areas
– Country Fire Service
The Country Fire Service (CFS) warned two-thirds of South Australians in bushfire-prone areas lacked a survival plan for days of high fire danger and needed to prepare themselves now.
It said research also found 56 per cent of those residents did not realise they lived in potential danger zones.
CFS spokesman Andrew Stark warned complacency could have dangerous consequences.
“We know those decisions and plans that are put in place before a fire occurs are far more supportive for great outcomes.”
Fire authorities said each summer season they prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best.
Official fire danger seasons have now started across all parts of South Australia and continue until about April.
Adelaide and nearby regions saw fire restrictions take effect from December 1, but many other parts of SA had their official danger seasons declared during November.
Apart from days when a total fire ban is declared, restrictions can apply on other days for the likes of machinery use, burning waste or having camp fires and barbecues.