Jan 7, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Australia wildfires: NSW police arrest 24 arson suspects

A firefighter hosing down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses from bushfires near the town of Nowra in the Australian state of New South Wales.
A firefighter in the Australian state of New South Wales. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images

As firefighters battle wildfires across Australia, police in New South Wales have arrested dozens of people for offenses related to fires, including 24 for deliberately lighting fires and three for looting fire-ravaged communities.

The big picture: NSW police said in a statement Monday that officers have taken legal action against 183 people for fire-related offenses since Nov. 8, including for "allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land."

The community and the government have a right to be outraged. We are not living in South Central LA, we don't live in Syria, we don't do this to each other. This is the South Coast of New South Wales."
— NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott on the looting suspects
  • On Tuesday, NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott told reporters three men were charged with looting near Nowra. He said anyone who wants to loot the home of a family that has "potentially lost everything" is "the lowest of the low" and should face the full force of the law.

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