Australian 16-year-old questioned over bushfire
A 16-year-old is being questioned by police in connection with a bushfire in the Australian state of Queensland, which destroyed 36 structures in the region’s east coast.
It was one of a number of devastating bushfires which have ripped across Queensland and the neighboring state of New South Wales in the past month, destroying hundreds of homes and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage.
In NSW alone early on Thursday afternoon there were 59 fires burning across the state including 30 that were not contained.
NSW police announced on Thursday that a fourth person had died in the bushfires. The body of a 58-year-old man was found near Kempsey in the state’s east, although there is no further information at this stage about his death.
While the cause of many of the blazes in natural, police have warned that no one should be setting any fires at all with a total fire ban in effect over both states.
Police said the 16-year-old arrested Thursday would be dealt with “under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act” and called for parents and caregivers to talk to their children about the dangers of lighting fires at this time.
A long-running drought and strong winds left eastern Australia on high alert early in the week, with a “catastrophic” risk of fire in the highly-populated greater Sydney area.
In the end, firefighters were able to contain the worst of the blazes but the cost of the fires are still being counted in terms of property and wildlife.