Australian man accused of starting bushfires to protect his cannabis crop

A file photo of bushfires in Australia Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Sydney, Australia Nov 17, 2019, 10.46 AM (IST)


An Australian national has been accused of intentionally lighting a fire which led to out-of-control bushfires in order to protect his cannabis crop. 

The police in Australia charged a 51-year-old man, who appeared before a court on Saturday, for deliberately setting fire at Ebor in New South Wales. The fire in Ebor is about 10,000 hectares in size and is still burning even after three days. 

The accused made a bungled attempt allegedly at backburning which intensified the fires and he didn't take any action to extinguish the flames, according to the police. Backburning is a practice in which firefighters try to clear the undergrowth that fuels the fire. 

Authorities blame arsonists for several bushfires across badly-hit New South Wales and Queensland and appealed the residents to give information regarding this which will lead to more arrests.  

So far, four people have been killed, more than 300 homes destroyed and millions are being affected because of the hazardous smoke spread by the massive bushfires. More than one million hectares of land has been razed in over a week. 

There were 130 fires that were burning in the two Australian states on Saturday, damaging large swathes of the area which has already been ravaged by a drought. 

On Saturday, the uncontrolled bushfires led to demands in Australia asking the country's conservative government to do more to tackle climate change.  

Firemen in New South Wales undertook backburning as temperatures dipped on Saturday night. The fires in New South Wales are expected to deteriorate early next week. 

Parts of Queensland are facing the risk of an extreme situation as the forecast of high temperatures, low humidity combined with storms will make life difficult for firefighters to control the fires.

Australia is prone to bushfires and scientists believe that the reason behind the fires early this season is because of climate change which is leading to a rise in temperatures and sapping of moisture from the environment.

The Australian government has ignored growing calls of limiting the use of fossil fuels, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and is eager to protect the highly lucrative mining industry.

(with inputs from AFP)

 

Story highlights

The police in Australia charged a 51-year-old man, who appeared before a court on Saturday, for deliberately setting fire at Ebor in New South Wales.