ACT Policing, ACT Fire & Rescue and the ACT Rural Fire Service have identified a suspect in a relation to a series of suspicious fires lit in Canberra late last month and are calling for members of the public to come forward to assist with their joint investigation.
“To have people lighting fires in an around Canberra leading into next season’s bushfire season is a bit of a worry, so we need to identify these people as quickly as possible,” said ACT Fire & Rescue Chief Officer Mark Brown.
The person of interest is described as approximately 160cm to 170cm (5’2” to 5’7” tall) and of medium build with fair complexion, dark hair and a dark beard. He is believed to have been wearing dark track pants and a dark top.
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The suspicious fires were on Mt Ainslie at around noon on April 23, behind the Albert Hall in Yarralumla at about 5pm on April 24, along Ginninderra Drive, Kaleen at about 3pm on April 26 and on Black Mountain on the afternoon of April 27.
In the case of the Mt Ainslie fires (there were several on the western side), police believe a person of interest may have walked along fire tracks which run behind the vicinity of Ainslie Village, Canning Street, Winnecke Street and Duffy Street between 11am and 1pm on April 23.
The Albert Hall fire was lit in pines behind the building. The public are asked to report any suspicious behaviour they may have been noticed in the vicinity between 4pm and 6pm on April 24.
There were several grass fires lit in Kaleen on April 24. Police believe a person of interest may have walked northwest on Ginninderra Drive along the roadside easement towards Belconnen between 2pm and 4pm that day.
A number of fires on Black Mountain on April 27 forced emergency services staff to evacuate Black Mountain Tower and vehicles from the mountain as a safety precaution. A person of interest may have walked along Parkes Way and subsequently entered the Black Mountain bushland between the hours of 2pm and 4pm that day.
Police urge anyone who may be able to help police with their investigation to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via act.crimestoppers.com.au. Information can be provided anonymously.
Pictured are ACT Policing Superintendent North District Cath Grassick, ACT Fire & Rescue Chief Officer Mark Brown and ACT Rural Fire Service Chief Officer Joe Murphy. Photo: Charlotte Harper