Arson

Arson

While many fires are the result on environmental factors, some are deliberately lit.

This summer, there have been a number of suspiciously lit grass, vehicles and structure fires. Lighting a fire during a total fire ban is a serious offence and is potentially putting people’s lives at risk.

Arson can have a devastating impact on the community. It has the potential to destroy property and the environment, cause significant financial loss and endanger lives.

Individuals can commit arson on:

  • homes
  • property
  • vehicles
  • buildings
  • the environment.

In the ACT, ACT Fire and Rescue and ACT Rural Fire Service are the primary responders to fires. If a fire is deemed as being suspicious, it is then investigated by ACT Policing.

Bushfires

The official bushfire season for the ACT begins on 1 October 2019 and will run through until 31 March 2020 unless conditions warrant an extension.

To keep up-to-date on the bushfire situation in the ACT and for information on how to be prepared, visit the ACT Emergency Services Agency website or follow their social media channels.

You can also download a Bushfire Survival Plan.

Reporting arson behaviour

Police patrol specific areas in the ACT during total fire bans to deter and detect any suspicious activity or anti-social behaviour.

We encourage members of the community to keep an eye on nearby parks or grasslands as they may be the first to notice suspicious behaviour or arson related activity.

If anyone notices suspicious activity in our open land or urban fringes, they should contact police on 131444 or 000 in an emergency.

Reporting cigarette butts being thrown from vehicles

City Rangers are responsible for investigating any cigarette butt littering in the ACT. There are online forms via Access Canberra where you can report littering, or you can call Access Canberra on 132 281.

Arson and the law

Lighting fires is an offence with serious consequences. There are a number of offences that a person can be charged with depending on the type of fire lit, and the damage caused by the fire.

The maximum penalty for someone deliberately lighting a fire or bushfire is imprisonment for 15 years.

If someone is apprehended starting a bushfire, and there has been a loss of property and/or life, then charges of ‘property damage’ and ‘murder/manslaughter’ could possibly apply.

ACT Policing Online News

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