WITH bushfires already occurring across south-east Queensland, the Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) is urging residents to keep an eye out for bushfire arson in their local area.
From August 2013 to August 2014, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) attended more than 700 incendiary or suspicious bushfires across the State, with more than 140 of these fires within south-east Queensland.
RFSQ South Eastern Regional Manager Tony Johnstone said all south-east Queenslanders had an important role to play in keeping their community safe from deliberately lit bushfires.
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“We’re already facing an above average bushfire season, so it’s important for everyone to be extra vigilant to stop arsonists in their tracks,” Mr Johnstone said.
“When a fire starts, be alert and call Triple Zero (000) immediately. Take notice of any people loitering around bushland reserves, along with cars or bikes in the area, so you can describe what you see to the authorities.
“Write this information down, take photos and report it to emergency services. You can report suspicious behaviour anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, contacting your local police station, or lodging an online information report at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.
“Our message to the community is simple this bushfire season: if you see something, or know something, say something.”
Mr Johnstone said bushfire arson was a matter for the entire community and firefighters needed the help of all Queenslanders to detect and stop arsonists this bushfire season.
“Bushfire arson is a crime and a major threat. Every year thousands of acres of land are burned, due to firebugs,” he said.
“These fires impact farmland productivity, national parks, place an enormous burden on emergency services and can threaten homes throughout the State.”
Mr Johnstone said bushfire arson was not tolerated in Queensland and was taken very seriously by police and fire services.
“There are heavy penalties for people convicted of arson,” he said.
“QFES work closely with the Queensland Police Service and other agencies to investigate bushfire arson.”
For more information on bushfire arson prevention visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au or www.bushfirearson.gov.au.