As the bushfires continue to rage on in Australia, New South Wales police have taken legal action against more than 180 people for fire-related offenses, including two dozen individuals who are believed to have intentionally started fires.
According to The Australian, since the fires started in July 2019, 184 people have been charged or cautioned with fire-related crimes across Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Some of the fire-related crimes individuals have been charged with include discarding lit cigarettes, setting off fireworks and failing to comply with a total fire ban.
In Queensland, police report that 101 people – 32 adults and 69 juveniles – have been arrested for fire-related crimes. In Victoria, 43 individuals have met similar charges. Four were also caught and arrested in Tasmania while setting fires to vegetation.
Additionally, 24 individuals have been arrested for deliberately starting fires in NSW.
According to a statement from the NSW Police force, “starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread” is punishable with up to 21 years imprisonment.
The NSW Bureau of Crime and Statistics and Research reports that 29 fires were intentionally lit in the Shoalhaven region of the state while 27 were lit in the Kempsey region.
The NSW Rural Fire Service reported Wednesday that 127 bush and grass fires – 56 of which are uncontrolled – were still burning in NSW.
At the time of this writing, the fires – which are largely believed to have been caused by drought and extreme heat – have taken the lives of 24 people, including three firefighters. Additionally, over half a billion animals and 18 million acres of land have been incinerated, CNN reports.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Dozens of organizations are accepting donations as Australia faces one of the most devastating bushfire seasons on record. Here is a list of organizations you can donate to:
Click here to read more.
Source: Christian Headlines