Minster for Emergency Services Jane Garrett has urged Victorians to remain on alert and report any suspicious arson activity as hot weather hits this weekend.
Since December, CFA has responded to more than 170 suspicious fires across the state.
The Australian Institute of Criminology estimates up to half of all bushfires are due to arson.
Speaking at the Crime Stoppers Bushfire Arson roadshow at Warrandyte today, Ms Garrett urged residents not to be complacent and report any suspicious activity.
Warrandyte is a high-fire risk location, surrounded by forest parks, bushy areas and steep terrain.
On 9 February 2014, a fast moving bushfire destroyed three homes in Warrandyte.
The bushfire arson campaign is a joint initiative of Crime Stoppers Victoria and emergency services agencies to raise awareness of the danger and devastation that recklessly and deliberately lit fires can cause.
Victoria has some of Australia’s toughest penalties for bushfire-related offences, including up to 25 years’ imprisonment where fire leads to a fatality.
Over the 2013-14 bushfire season, there was a 60 per cent increase in reports of arson compared to the previous year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett
“Each summer, fire authorities respond to an average of 54,000 bushfires across the country, up to half of which are deliberately lit or start in suspicious circumstances.”
“By providing information to Crime Stoppers or the police, you could help save lives, homes and livelihoods.”
“While it has been a relatively mild summer compared to previous years, Victoria is one of the highest bushfire risk areas in the world so people need to remain vigilant.”
“Arson is a cowardly act that can have devastating repercussions on the public and the environment.”
“Call Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000 if you have any information or suspect someone of deliberately or recklessly lighting a fire.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020