Residents living near bushland in Blacktown have been urged to report any suspicious activity as the state prepares for extreme weather conditions today.
During last year’s bushfire danger period, from October 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, legal action was taken against 87 people for 117 bushfire related offences. Of those, 55 were juveniles.
The state’s deputy emergency operations controller, Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke, said police and thousands of rescue and fire workers will also be keeping a close watch on any suspicious activity.
“The outcomes of bushfires can be catastrophic, and reports of deliberately-lit bushfires are treated extremely seriously,” Mr Clarke said.
“We use both overt and covert strategies to detect bushfire arsonists, and anyone caught deliberately lighting bushfires will be arrested and put before the court where they could face penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment.
‘‘If you see someone acting suspiciously, contact police, and if you see a bushfire, phone triple-0 immediately.”
Strike Force Tronto, comprised of police detectives from the Property Crime Squad’s arson unit, is the lead investigative body on suspicious or deliberately-lit bushfires which lead to death, serious injury or significant property loss.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted temperatures to soar to 39 degrees today, an October record.