WORLD NEWS

Two Dozen Charged For Deliberately Setting Bushfires In One Australian State

Jan 7, 2020, 9:57 AM | Updated: 10:43 am
Burnt trees are pictured in the Wingello State Forest on Jan. 06, 2020 in Wingello, Australia. Cool...
Burnt trees are pictured in the Wingello State Forest on Jan. 06, 2020 in Wingello, Australia. Cooler conditions and light rain has provided some relief for firefighters in NSW who continue to battle bushfires across the state. Army Reserve forces and other specialist capabilities have been called in to help with firefighting efforts across Australia, along with extra Defence ships and helicopters. 14 people have now died in the fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia since New Year's Eve. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, Australia – Officials with the New South Wales Police Force said they have taken legal action against more than 180 people during the 2019-20 wildfire season.

Twenty-four of those people have been charged over deliberately-lit bushfires, police said.

Wildfires nationwide have been raging since September, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record.

Penalties for charges of damaging property with the intention of endangering life and manslaughter include up to 25 years in prison.

Anyone charged with starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread can spend up to 21 years in prison, according to NSW laws.

Other legal actions, ranging from cautions to criminal charges, were taken against people who allegedly failed to comply with total fire bans in the area or discarded cigarettes or matches on land.

Police said 40 of the 183 people were juveniles.

Cooler weather and desperately-needed rain aided firefighters on Monday.

Officials said 25 people have been killed and over 2,000 homes have been destroyed by the massive fires.

Over 125 fires were still burning in New South Wales on Tuesday and a State of Emergency was declared on Jan 2.

Hundreds of fires were burning across the other Australian states of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania.

A map of active wildfires in Australia on Jan. 7, 2020. (Courtesy MyFireWatch)

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Two Dozen Charged For Deliberately Setting Bushfires In One Australian State