Another bushfire started by a stolen car set alight in the ACT’s national parks and nature reserves on Saturday evening (15 December) has rangers concerned about the worrying trend ahead of an expected harsh bushfire season.
A stolen car was set alight in lower Cotter catchment area, near Vanity’s Crossing, around 5:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, causing a bush and grass fire in the surrounding bushland.
ACT Fire and Rescue extinguished the blaze which grew to approximately 10 metres by 50 metres in size and burned for just over an hour.
Pierce’s Creek and other national parks have become a popular spot for lighting dumped vehicles in the last couple of years and ACT Parks and Conservation manager Brett McNamara is concerned about the trend.
“As a community, we are very concerned that there still is a pattern of illegally dumped vehicles out in our parks and forest areas being set alight,” Mr McNamara said. “If the summer does turn back to a dry season, these situations can certainly ignite a significant fire.”
ACT Parks and Conservation said they are continuing to work with the ACT Policing’s dedicated rural patrol unit. Future preventive measures could include stepping up patrols in remote locations and installing remote area cameras.
Mr McNamara is calling on the Canberra community to help put an end to this worrying trend by remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity.
“We need the community, who are our eyes and ears, to help protect our national parks and nature reserves,” he said. “We are asking for people to come forward with any relevant information.”
An ACT Policing spokesperson would not comment if police were allocating more staff to their dedicated rural patrol unit but said the number of car fires across the ACT was significantly less than in previous years.
“Current statistics for this financial year show an average of approximately 14 vehicle fires per month which is significantly less than the monthly averages in the past two financial years, with 22 car fires per month in 2016-17 and 24 per month last financial year,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said arson is a serious offence with serious consequences and urged the community to report any vehicle fires as soon as possible.
“If anyone is aware of any vehicle fire, deliberate or otherwise, during the fire season, we urge them to report it on Triple Zero immediately,” the spokesperson said.
“Anyone with any information about a deliberately-set fire should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via their website. Information can be supplied anonymously.”