Bush fire arson is a crime.
The NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Police Force are committed to fighting bush fire arson. Bush fire arson is dangerous. It can destroy lives, properties and have long term effects on the environment.
It is also costly for the community with the loss of properties, cost of firefighting resources and the disruption to businesses.
How you can help
If you see something that looks out of place, this may be what Police are looking for.
If you can, record the details of vehicles such as the make, model and registration of suspicious vehicles. Also take note of the appearance of anyone acting suspiciously.
Report suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The NSW Rural Fire Service works closely with the NSW Police Force and other agencies to investigate arson.
Knowing the cause of fires can help provide accurate data, focus prevention campaigns and to prosecute people who negligently or deliberately light fires.
The NSW RFS has more than 150 highly skilled investigators who work to identify the origin and cause of fires.
A fire investigation may take place for a number of reasons such as where there has been an injury or death, where there is significant property damage, where it is believed to have been deliberately lit or where the identity of a suspect is known.
In 2010/11, more than 500 bush and grass fires were formally investigated by the NSW RFS. The majority of these investigations were conducted in co-operation with NSW Police, resulting in several charges being laid.
There are heavy penalties for people convicted of deliberately lighting a fire.
Recent amendments to the Rural Fires Act have substantially increased fines for deliberately lit fires. Some fines have increased from $500 to $1100.
Legislation is regularly reviewed by the NSW Rural Fire Service and amended where appropriate to ensure fire investigators have the ability to conduct thorough enquiries.
For example, the Rural Fires Act was recently amended to provide fire investigators with the power to enter any land for the purposes of investigating the cause or origin of any fire for a period of up to 24 hours after the fire has been extinguished.
Subsequent arson investigations are undertaken by the NSW Police Force. There are various other pieces of legislation that assist authorities whilst investigating arson.