Police are calling for witnesses following several suspicious bushfires across the state – while reminding people of penalties in place if you’re caught lighting up, and it doesn’t matter if it’s deliberate or accidental.
Emergency services have answered calls to several scrub fires over the last 48 hours – believed to have been deliberately lit in bushland around the North Gosford and Wyoming region.
With a complete fire ban in place yesterday, Strike Force Toronto detectives from the Property Crime Squad’s Arson Unit have been tasked with investigating suspicious or deliberately-lit bushfires which lead to death, serious injury or significant property loss.
The detectives work closely with local area commands and investigators from the NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW.
Police are reminding everyone that penalties relating to bushfires under the NSW Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act, and Rural Fires Regulation include up to 25 years behind bars.
Here’s a summary of possible current convictions in place:
- Damaging property with the intention of endangering life – up to 25 years imprisonment.
- Manslaughter – up to 25 years imprisonment.
- Starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread – up to 14 years imprisonment.
- Lighting a fire when a total fire ban is in place – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine.
- Not putting out a fire that you have lit – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine.
- Failing to comply with a bush fire hazard reduction notice – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine.
- Light or use a tobacco product within 15metres of any stack of grain, hay corn, straw or any standing crop, dry grass or stubble field – up to a $5500 fine.
Police are urging anyone with information about these fires to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/reportcrime
For information on bushfires, monitor www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.