NSW Police have up their investigation into the cause of 12,000 bushfires across the state in recent months, after it was revealed at least 716 fires were deliberately lit.
“A data collation and investigation plan has been developed to review the cause and impacts of the more than 1700 bushfires already reported to police; and consider the 12,000 fires recorded by the Rural Fire Service since August 2019,” police said in a statement released on Friday.
Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said 716 of the 1700 bushfires already reported to police this season had been classified as deliberate.
“It ranges from those that are listed as accidental right through to intentional,” Mr Smith told reporters on Friday.
Another 156 were down to natural causes, while more than 745 were yet to be classified.
Since August 1 2019, legal action has reportedly been taken against 267 people for 328 bushfire-related offences, including:
- 55 people have had legal actions over alleged deliberately-lit bushfires
- 126 people have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban
- 41 people have had legal actions for discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land, and
- 70 juveniles have had legal actions for bushfire-related offences.
So far, 24 people have died across New South Wales during this fire season.