Teen on bail over bushfire near John Hunter

A TEENAGER charged with starting last week’s bushfire near John Hunter Hospital has been released on bail while detectives continue to investigate the Booti Booti National Park fire south of Forster that is also believed to have been deliberately lit.

A 17-year-old charged with intentionally starting the fire and allowing it to spread faced a Sydney bail court on Saturday where he was granted bail to join two co-accused, aged 15 and 16, at Broadmeadow Children’s Court next month.

They are accused of lighting at least one of three fires that flared up near the hospital on Thursday and Friday, while another flare-up on Saturday night is not believed to have been deliberately lit.

The 15 and 16-year-old, from Elermore Vale, were charged with the same offences as the 17-year-old but were granted bail by police.

Detectives returned to Booti Booti National Park south of Forster on Saturday to continue their investigation into the fire that burned about 300 hectares of land.

A large bushfire at Ernies Flat near Gloucester was declared ‘‘under control’’ by the Rural Fire Service yesterday after almost 400 hectares of scrub was burnt out.

Crews were called to Dalswinton on the Golden Highway near Denman yesterday after reports of an out-of-control grassfire at Long Gully near Singleton.

A small fire at Clear Farm East, south of Singleton, was extinguished on Saturday as were fires at Mount Wareng, Wollemi National Park and Yengo National Park.

A small scrub fire near Neath Road, Neath, was also extinguished on Sunday.

While temperatures are expected to reach only the mid 30s across the Hunter on Monday, fire crews will be on standby on Tuesday and Wednesday when temperatures are expected to soar to 43 and 40 degrees respectively in some sections of the Hunter.

The Hunter’s fire danger was rated as ‘‘very high’’ on Sunday, but a total fire ban was not in place.

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