Firefighters have been called to extinguish a large number of bush fires throughout the Hunter in the past week. Disturbingly, many of them were lit by school-age children.
Police detained two children after suspecting they started a fire in Birmingham Gardens that required six Fire Rescue NSW appliances to extinguish. Three hectares of bush were burnt before the fire could be brought under control.
A boy on a push bike was apparently seen lighting fires on a walking track at Eleebana on Monday morning. “We doused several small fires before they could escalate. Kids don’t realise the danger they’re putting people in, it doesn’t take much for these fires to take off and put lives at risk,” Firefighter Jacob Mackay said. Police were unable to find the boy, who was described as about 14 years old and wearing a black t-shirt.
Explosions were heard and children were seen running from a fire at Bonnells Bay on Tuesday. Witnesses said children were throwing aerosol cans onto a fire. Crews from Morisset and Wangi Wangi extinguished the fire before any properties were threatened. Another three children fled after apparently lighting a fire near Belmont Golf Course. Power was isolated while Belmont firefighters put out the fire.
Fire and Rescue NSW runs the Intervention and Fire Awareness Program which provides help to understand and manage children’s fire-starting behaviour. See fire.nsw.gov.au for details.