QUEENSLAND, Australia: Eastern Australian states battle over a hundred wildfires, while local police investigate possibility of malicious intent behind few blazes.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll announced on Tuesday, the establishment of a taskforce to investigate eight fires and said some “have involved children playing”.
A 12-year-old boy was apprehended on Monday behind a skate park in Queensland State, following investigations into a fire which destroyed bushland and part of a storage facility, police said.
At another location, two 14-year-old girls who allegedly ‘lit fire deliberately’ are helping investigators in their inquiry, according to Queensland police.
Queensland Government Fire and Emergency Services issued a warning at 11am Wednesday, “a large fire continues to travel slowly in a north, north westerly direction from Peregian Beach towards the southern end of Lake Weyba”.
“Residents of Peregian Beach, Marcus Beach and Castaways Beach – areas east of the National Park – can now safely return to their homes,” the statement reads further.
Emergency declaration remains in place around Weyba, Weyba Downs and Peregian Breeze.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll appreciated the efforts of those on ground in a press conference.
“More than 300 firefighters worked from 4:30 yesterday afternoon all throughout the night and many of them are still there working to contain the fire at Peregian,” she said.
Posted by Queensland Police Service on Monday, September 9, 2019
Wildfires are an annual occurrence in the area, with more than 130 fires currently burning across the neighboring eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales.
Queensland Acting Premier Jackie Trad revealed that 400 people took shelter in emergency evacuation centers on Sunshine coast near Peregian Beach as the area was engulfed by an ember storm.
“In around 130 years of records, Queensland has never seen fires this severe this early in spring,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services predictive services inspector Andrew Sturgess told media.