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Media Release

Rise in suspicious fires in the Kimberley
Tuesday 26 August 2014 – 5:00 PM
A series of suspicious bushfires in the Kimberley region has prompted a reminder to the public to keep a look out for suspicious activity and report it to authorities.
 
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Kimberley Superintendent Grant Pipe said that in the last week approximately ninety per cent of the bushfires attended by emergency services in the Kimberley region had been suspicious or deliberately lit.
 
“Deliberately lit bushfires this time of year in the Kimberley can spread quickly and engulf thousands of hectares, impacting upon communities and destroying property and infrastructure,” Superintendent Pipe said.
 
“The irresponsible and criminal actions of arsonists put enormous pressure on emergency services and land managers and needlessly put local communities at risk.”
 
 “Information from the community is vital to successfully identifying arsonists and to help reduce the number of incidents of arson,” Superintendent Pipe said.
 
“If you see a person or vehicle behaving suspiciously near a bushfire, record the details as accurately as possible and call WA Police on 131 444.”
 
This dry season firefighters have combatted a number of suspicious fires near the Broome and Kununurra town sites and in the areas of Cape Leveque, Lake Argyle, Gibb River Road and the Great Northern Highway.
 
These fires have burnt vast areas of vegetation and pastoral land and in some cases destroyed infrastructure worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
 
Repeated road closures caused by the impact of fires are also hindering travellers and road transport operations critical to the region.
 
The work of just one arsonist can threaten lives, destroy homes and direct resources away from other emergencies.
 
A reward of up to $50,000 is available for information leading to the identification and conviction of people deliberately lighting fires in Western Australia.
 
The lighting of fires is a significant crime and attracts a penalty of up to $250,000 and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
 
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955

 

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