Central Queensland taskforce targets dangerous firebugs

ARSON is the word on every Central Queensland firefighters' lips this fire season following a spate of suspicious or deliberately lit fires across the region, including seven on Monday alone.

An arson taskforce has been relaunched in CQ with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) joining forces as part of Taskforce Vulcan to keep a close eye on suspicious fire activity.

While he could not confirm their locations, QFES director of operations Jeff King said there had been several suspicious fires in the region in the past few months.

"Fire investigators are looking into multiple fires across CQ, which they believe may have been deliberately lit," Mr King said.

"Fire crews have attended more than 300 vegetation fires already this season, a number of which have an undetermined or suspicious cause."

Mr King said arson could have devastating effects.

"The consequences of arson can range from vegetation damage to destruction of property, and even loss of life," he said.

"In poor conditions, such as a dry or windy day, a small fire can quickly get out of control.

"Aside from the destruction this causes, fighting unnecessary fires takes up a lot of QFES resources, which could be better used elsewhere.

"Many rural firefighters are volunteers, and have to spend time away from their work and families and put their lives at risk to fight fires.

"We need the community to assist us in keeping an eye out for suspicious fire behaviour."

Mr King said failing to comply with permit conditions could also result in arson charges.

"It's important to pay attention to fire bans and restrictions and to consult with your fire warden before lighting a fire more than two metres in any direction," he said.

ARSON HOTSPOTS

 7 suspicious fires on Monday alone

 Arson hotspots at Mt Morgan, Gladstone, The Caves, Cawarral, Bondoola, Stanage Bay and Mackay

 Very High fire rating today

 Residents should report suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000


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