The government of New South Wales in Australia announced Tuesday that they’ve arrested two dozen more individuals for deliberately setting some of the fires now burning out of control, part of Australia’s ongoing “brushfire crisis.”
On Monday, the Daily Wire reported that the government of Queensland, in northeastern Australia, rounded up dozens of individuals who set at least 100 fires, some of which are still burning, even after consuming tens of thousands of acres, killing tens of thousands of wild animals, and leaving countless farms, homes, and businesses, decimated.
ABC News reports that authorities in New South Wales have charged 24 individuals with deliberately setting fires and dozens more are facing possible consequences for negligence or recklessness.
“In addition to those facing the most serious charges of starting fires intentionally, authorities said another 53 people are facing legal action for not complying with the state’s fire ban and 47 people have faced legal action for discarding a lit cigarette or match on land,” according to the outlet.
“Investigations into the cause, origin and overall impact of fires are continuing and since the latest State of Emergency was declared…Strike Force Tronto has provided expertise to six police area commands and eight police districts,” NSW police said in a statement released to media this week. “As inquiries continue, police are appealing to the community to provide footage and/or images from phones, dashcam, or other devices, that show any of the fires in their infancy, even if only from a distance.”
The two dozen people charged could face up to 21 years in prison. The others are likely to face fines.
At least 24 people are dead and thousands are homeless as a result of the fires, many of them in New South Wales, where the fires have been among the most destructive and difficult to manage. The fires, raging across the eastern part of the country, have burned approximately 12 million acres.
According to ABC News and the University of Sydney, an estimated 480 million animals have perished in New South Wales alone, some of them cattle and livestock, but many of them wild. The true loss is unknown and it could be months before Australians can calculate the damages. The current fires could be burning for weeks and the wildfire season in Australia could drag on until March.
“The fires have also been devastating for Australia’s wildlife and wild places, as vital areas of bush, forests and parks have been scorched and many millions of animals killed or injured,” the World Wildlife Fund told ABC. “Until the fires subside the full extent of damage will remain unknown.”
Experts and quasi-experts blame “climate change” for the devastating wildfires, but it appears that poor fire prevention practices have at least contributed to the brushfire crisis, as have “green” policies that limit the use of controlled burns. Those burns help farmers clear their land of excess foliage but, in recent years, activists concerned about carbon emissions have pressured Australia’s government to curb the practice, leaving acres of land overgrown.