Some of Australia fires suspicious, police investigating
Police in Australia say some of the devastating wildfires that are ripping through the country’s east are suspicious of having been “purposefully started.”
More than a hundred blazes have been ravaging thousands of hectares of land in parts of Australia’s Queensland and New South Wales over the past few days.
Queensland’s police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, said on Tuesday that she had established a task force to investigate the circumstances behind eight suspicious fires that are currently burning.
Carroll said that while some fires have “just clearly gotten away from kids thinking they are having fun,” others have been ignited as a result of “reckless and purposeful behavior by others.”
“Some of the fires have involved children playing and obviously the consequences are dire as a result of that and... some of them have been purposeful and malicious,” she said. “The consequences of some of these fires are dire. People can die. Buildings and residences are being destroyed.”
Carroll also said that the number of suspicious fires “will increase,” as “there are many, many charges that have already been laid in relation to this.”
There are more than 1,000 firefighters and 250 trucks working across Queensland to contain the blazes, said Craig Crawford, the Queensland minister for social resources.
“I think that is actually more than what we ever had during the November fires last year at any one time,” he added.
According to a representative from Queensland fire and emergency services, work will continue “for days and weeks” because of the remoteness of some of the areas on fire.
“We still have a lot of firefighting activity. It simply is not safe,” he said.
The fires have so far forced hundreds of people to leave their homes.
There are more than 400 people in evacuation centers, said acting Queensland premier Jackie Trad, adding that no one is dead or missing as a result of the fires.
In neighboring New South Wales, about 55 fires are burning, and five properties have been confirmed destroyed, said NSW’s Rural Fire Service on Monday.