According to a report from The Australian, 183 people have been arrested in relation to the bushfires ravaging Australia over the past few months.
“Police arrested 183 people for lighting bushfires across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in the past few months. NSW police data shows 183 people have been charged or cautioned for bushfire-related offences since November 8, and 24 arrested for deliberately starting bushfires,” said the Australian.
Stories like this have been popping up for a little while now. Back in October, a teenage volunteer firefighter was starting fires in the Australian brush then returning to fight them according to the Guardian:
The volunteer firefighter, 19, allegedly lit a fire on Tuesday afternoon next to the Bega river, left the area and returned to fight the fire for the RFS.
He was arrested at a Tarraganda fire shed within two hours of the fire.
The man was charged with causing the fire as well as six others since 17 October, and appeared before Bega local court on Wednesday. He was granted conditional bail to return to the court on 17 December.
While the numbers of arrests in Australia is concerning, officials believe only a small percentage of the fires can be attributed to arson.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that 183 arsonists were arrested over the bushfires in Australia, and these arsonists were the main cause of the wildfires. While 183 people were arrested in relation to the fires, only 24 were arrested specifically for arson/deliberately setting fires. Officials from both the NSW Rural Fire Service and the Country Fire Authority have stated that the predominant cause of the bushfires is lightning.