Over the weekend, three people were charged with allegedly having sparked fires in New South Wales (NSW), contravening a total ban on flames in the state worst affected by bushfires. Police say they have taken action against more than 180 people for bushfire-related offenses.
Australia's eastern and southern states have been grappling with the bushfire crisis for months, with more than 7 million hectares of land already having been burned over the course of bushfire season, which started in September.
Authorities say many of the fires were started by arsonists, some as young as 16 years old. Two incidents on Saturday and Sunday at Cooma and Tarro allegedly involved attempts to light an open fire for cooking, while another involved the lighting of multiple small fires in Contegany on Sunday. Rural Fire Service crew members were called to extinguish the flames in all three cases. According to police, the three accused are due to appear in court over the next three months.