17 December 2018

Another car set alight in dense bushland raises alarm bells for rangers

| Lachlan Roberts
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Authorities are calling on the Canberra community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. File photo.

Authorities are calling on the Canberra community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. File photo.

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.”

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Capital Retro6:28 pm 20 Dec 18

Another four car fires overnight according to ESA website http://esa.act.gov.au/community-information/incidents-map/

What happened to covert police patrols?

Seems to me not enough people are securing their cars from being stolen. If it’s an older model an ignition isolator, steering wheel or clutch pedal lock are appropriate. Perhaps we need (yet another) law which sees careless car owners being charged and fined for not adequately securing their vehicles.

Yes, lets punish people for having their car stolen….

After torching a stolen car these people aren’t walking out. They get their mates to follow them out in another vehicle and pick them up. Some cctv footage would catch them (and other law-breakers) out.

Also a CCTV operator with access to road spikes would ensure their long walk home from their getaway vehicle would coincide with the last time they do it out there.

100% agree.
This is nothing new, We were told they closed off all the trails because of reasons like this!
If only good governance prevailed!
You know all those 100 of thousands of $$$ they spent on big gates and cameras to lock people out of the old logging and fire trails at Corrin Forrest?
this idea could have been used there, Just 1 hidden high res camera at the entry point. you would see 2 cars enter one car leave , number plates , faces and all! Plus they could have caught all those jerks dumping garbage, it would be undeniable!
and the bonus would be that the 90% of people who love the bush land and enjoy a challenging drive could still visit instead if always crossing the boarder.

Might be more people around to see or prevent this kind of thing if the locked gates stopped going up at all the reserves. When the attraction (Vanitys crossing in this case) is locked off, people stop bothering to go into the area.

The gate was put in because of all the cars being dumped there. They can’t dump cars there if they can’t access it.

That was a lame excuse. I used to fish down there regularly, and only ever saw 1 stolen vehicle dumped near there. Some idiots would leave garbage there from time to time too, unfortunately. I don’t think that’s any reason to completely lock the place up though.

There’s a pretty concerted effort in the ACT to lock people out of the bush, and it has been going on for over a decade now.

Yeah mate, i used to really enjoy that Vanities Crossing drive!
the Vanities crossing Closure was a load of BS! i remember it. posted in the Canberra times as a notice, no reason provided. they had a “friendly” ranger and community season where they listed the BS, mainly protecting the water supply by to stopping petrochemicals from cars to the excessive dumping of nappies!
and much of the near by tracks were closed to prevent dust etc from making its way into the water supply – even 4km away! and ones that their run off would not go anywhere near Cotter
… and not long after they built an on site concrete plant!!! no concern for water quality then!
It always broke my heart when I saw trailers of garbage dumped anywhere drove out there.
Even 10 years ago there was a new car burnt somewhere between Corrin and Cotter every month! nothing has changed, they either dump them behind Hume, Fyshwick or on the side of the road.

Yeah, it isn’t even worth bothering to try and explore the bush in the ACT. You just come across locked gate after locked gate. Better off going across the border to NSW, or even better, down to VIC where they seem to actually encourage people to explore.

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