Authorities in New South Wales have arrested two dozen Australians for intentionally setting fires as huge swaths of the country continue to be engulfed by flames.
In a news release issued Monday, the NSW Police Force said legal action has been taken against more than 180 people since late last year. The bushfires have killed 18 people and burned 4.9 million hectares of land, consuming thousands of structures, and millions of animals, the statement said.
In breaking down their figures, the police said “24 have been charged over deliberately-lit bushfires; 53 people have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban; and 47 people have had legal actions for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.”
Offenders could face a wide variety of penalties including:
- Damaging property with the intention of endangering life – up to 25 years imprisonment;
- Manslaughter – up to 25 years imprisonment;
- Starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread – up to 21 years imprisonment;
- Lighting a fire when a total fire ban is in place – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine;
- Not putting out a fire that you have lit – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine;
- Failing to comply with a bush fire hazard reduction notice – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine;
- Light or use a tobacco product within 15 metres of any stack of grain, hay corn, straw or any standing crop, dry grass or stubble field – up to a $5500 fine. (NSW Police)
News of these arrests come as many on the left have claimed that climate change is to blame.
Australia is on fire. Nearly half a billion animals have been killed with more than 14.5 million acres burned. This is climate change. pic.twitter.com/Mvy6JRe9o2— Earth (@earth) January 3, 2020
The catastrophic scenes from Australia's wildfires should alarm all of us. Climate change is driving even more dangerous and destructive fires across the world, from California to New South Wales—and we must fight together to defeat this crisis. https://t.co/DQMd9O75mt— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
I say to those who are delaying action on climate change: Look at the blood-red sky and unbreathable air in Australia because of raging forest fires.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 2, 2020
Our futures are all connected. That is why we must bring the world together and enact a Green New Deal. pic.twitter.com/GBQQpDc4vE
We’re seeing it in Australia.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 4, 2020
We’re seeing it in California.
Our entire planet is in the midst of a climate crisis. There is already devastating, irreversible damage happening. We must act swiftly to combat it. https://t.co/kPhVFcb6Dy
Skipping this year's Golden Globes to fight the NSW fires, @russellcrowe got Jennifer Aniston to read out his acceptance speech: “Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate-change based.” #australiafires #australiaburns #goldenglobes pic.twitter.com/IFnVhUFJgX— The New Daily (@TheNewDailyAu) January 6, 2020