Since last July, a whopping five million acres of Australia’s land has been savaged by over 7,000 fires in what is being called the “most challenging bushfire season ever,”
Six people have already died in the fires and 673 homes and almost 1400 other structures have been destroyed, let alone the devastating impact on the local wildlife.
To add salt to the wounds, news is coming out that three 12-year-old boys have allegedly been caught setting fires in Wollongong, south of Sydney, the third largest city in New South Wales.
It is reported that two of the suspected arsonists started a grass fire early Sunday morning in Wollongong, while the third has been cautioned after a fire was reportedly lit that afternoon in a Wollongong suburb.
The fires were thankfully extinguished soon after being lit and all three boys have been reprimanded under the Young Offenders Act. They have been ordered to attend a youth conference for deliberately lighting the fires, reports the Daily Mail.
Brian Pedersen, Lake Illawarra Police District Inspector, has said that deliberately lit fires in the region have been of concern to local officials. Pedersen explains:
“It’s quite distressing to see young people in particular continuing to ignore the message about how dangerous fires can be.
We are urging the whole community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior.”
In a similar case, a 19-year-old volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire Service in New South Wales was charged late November with lighting seven fires since October 17.
In this ridiculous case of irresponsibility, the teenager was reported to have lit fires before leaving the area only to return to extinguish them later on. The teen has been ordered to return to court on December 17.
Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, has called the firefighter’s actions “the ultimate betrayal of our own members, and of the broader community.”
There is an air of volatility in New South Wales. The Rural Fire Service in New South Wales said fire activity has “increased over the evening due to strong westerly winds” and they issued an emergency warning as bushfires have doubled in size along the New South Wales South Coast.
Residents have been warned that “It is too late to leave” in some areas and to make things worse, strong winds are expected to continue through the weekend with no reprieve expected until the weekend.
As of Monday, about 150 bush fires were burning across New South Wales with only two-thirds of them contained.