The bushfire crisis happening in Australia at the moment is unprecedented, wiping out thousands of homes and killing nearly 500 million animals and 25 people to date, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get better anytime soon. It’s a devastating example of climate change, for sure, but it’s also much worse thanks to arsonists who are purposely setting fires or acting in careless and destructive ways.
- Nearly 200 people have been arrested thus far. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, legal action is being taken against 183 people after it was determined that 103 of the fires in Queensland were purposely started by 98 people, 67 of them being minors. In New South Wales, a further 24 people have also been charged with starting bushfires deliberately.
- Sometimes it just comes down to stupidity. With bushfires so prevalent and destructive, it makes sense that local authorities would put laws in place that make the fires less likely to flourish or start in the first place. However, 53 people in NSW are facing legal action for ignoring the state’s total fire ban. What is wrong with people?
- Unfortunately, that’s not all… An additional 47 people in NSW have been accused of improperly discarding of a lit cigarette or match. You know, because when your country is suffering a severe drought and fires are raging across the entirety of the landmass, why shouldn’t you throw a lit cigarette into the bushes?
- If found guilty, jail sentences are possible. Crimes related to starting bushfires carry up to 25 years in prison. While someone who threw a lit cigarette down maybe doesn’t deserve to be locked up for a couple decades, those deliberately increasing the devastation of these terrible fires absolutely should be thrown in a cell for a long, long time. If they’re doing this, what else are they capable of?
- At the very least, those charged will likely be fined. According to Unilad, “Anyone caught lighting a fire during a total fire ban could face up to 12 months in prison and/or a $5,500 fine. Meanwhile, anyone seen lighting a tobacco product within 15 meters of a stack of hay, grain, corn, or any standing crop could also face a fine of $5,500.”