Police look out for arsonists

AS the fire danger season has started, South Australia Police is focusing efforts on its response to the threat of bushfires through Operation Nomad.

Operation Nomad is a focus on deliberate, reckless and negligent acts that may cause a bushfire.

Patrols are deployed on total fire ban days (this includes severe, extreme and catastrophic fire danger ratings) throughout the season.

These patrols are not only proactively detecting risky and deliberate behaviour they are also a source of education for the community to reduce the risk of a bushfire.

Assistant Commissioner Noel Bamford said this operation focuses on known arsonists within our community, but also has a strong focus on preventing those bushfires which are started accidentally and can be avoided.

“Police will continue to monitor the 88 persons of interest during this year’s fire danger season, this includes those currently incarcerated who may be released in coming months,” said Assistant Commissioner Bamford.

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Vincent Tarzia, said SES personnel have once again boosted SAPOL’s resources for Operation Nomad.

“We’re ensuring as many eyes as possible are watching firebugs over summer,” Minister Tarzia said.

“People who intentionally light fires are scumbags.

“We know how devastating bushfires can be in South Australia and must do everything in our power to keep the community safe.

“Whether bushfires are deliberately lit or accidental, we all have a responsibility to protect lives and property.”

Last year there were 526 Operation Nomad fire incidents, 46 were determined to be deliberately lit first and 61 suspicious. Eleven people were arrested for Nomad related fire offences and 14 people were reported and 33 fines were issued, fines mostly related to the lighting or maintaining a fire during the fire danger season and or cause bushfire intentionally or recklessly.

“Many fires which started last year were not criminally motivated and classified as non-suspicious – this can be anything from use of power tools or farming equipment when restrictions are in place, to parking a hot car on long grass during summer,” Assistant Commissioner Bamford said.

“Bushfire prevention is a community effort and while SA Police will proactively monitor and detect risky and deliberate bushfire activity, we rely on the information for the public to keep our community safe.”

CFS State Duty Commander Brett Loughlin said: “There are strict rules around the use of everyday items – such as barbeques, pizza ovens, power tools or spark-producing equipment – that change on a Total Fire Ban Day.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to know their obligations to keep themselves and their communities safe.

“Bushfire risk may not be as high this summer as in some years, but bushfires happen every summer in Australia and even short periods of hot and windy weather will raise the fire risk especially in areas that have seen a lot of vegetation growth during spring. It takes the slightest spark to start a catastrophic bushfire.”

If you see anything suspicious or activity that increase the risk of bushfire, contact the police assistance line on 131 444 or to report anonymously, phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Helpful details to provide police include the location and people involved descriptions of those present, any vehicle details and anything else that may assist the responding patrol or our investigators.