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Police appeal for information following Kurnell fire

Police are appealing for information from the public after a grass fire at Kurnell in Sydney’s south, appears to have been deliberately lit.

Strike Force Cammarlie, comprises officers attached to Miranda Local Area Command assisted by Property Crime Unit Squads, Arson Unit, was formed to investigate a suspicious grass fire in Botany Bay National Park.

About 5.30pm on Sunday 3 September 2017, emergency services attended Sir Joseph Banks Drive following reports of a grass fire.

The fire escalated throughout the afternoon due to wind conditions, burning about 350 hectares of bushland.

Crews from the Fire & Rescue NSW and the Rural Fire Service responded to protect the nearby refinery and desalination plant. No homes were damaged and no one was injured.

The fire activity is currently minimal and remains within the containment lines.

Property Crime Squad’s Commander Detective Superintendant Murray Chapman said lighting bushfires isn’t just illegal and dangerous, but can also be deadly.

“Police have issued a strong warning to potential bushfire arsonists that it is not just the eyes of emergency services, but the wider community, that will be watching for any suspicious activity which leads to bushfires,” said Superintendant Chapman.

“Lighting bushfires isn’t just illegal and dangerous, it can be deadly.”

“Police and the NSW Rural Fire Service use a range of techniques and strategies to detect bushfire arsonists, and anyone caught deliberately lighting bushfires will be arrested and put before the court.”

“You could face penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment,” he said.

Police are also reminding people that they could face penalties if found responsible for the accidental lighting of bushfires, including not putting out a fire they have lit.

Penalties relating to bushfires under the NSW Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act, and Rural Fires Regulation include:

  • 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 believe the fire may have been deliberately lit and are appealing for anyone with information or noticed anything suspicious to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Source: NSW Police

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