A 15-year-old girl has been charged with deliberately lighting a bushfire yesterday that sped through Carrum Downs, southeast of Melbourne.

The destructive fire, which started at about 3:15pm at Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve, took 300 firefighters and two aircraft to contain, with many residents forced to tackle smaller spot fires on their properties. Dozens were forced to evacuate as the fire encroached on residential areas around the reserve.

One house was seriously damaged, with owner Jim Crozier telling the ABC that the fire meant he’d lost his art collection, worth $40,000, as well as a place to live, saying, “I’m terrified to go anywhere near the house. I don’t want to see the house.

The fire burned 36 hectares of bush and travelled for 1.5km before being brought under control at around 8pm. Fortunately, no-one was injured.

Yesterday was astonishingly hot in Victoria, with fire warnings in place almost everywhere as temperatures soared over 40C.

The girl who’s charged with setting the fire has been released on bail, and will appear in children’s court at a later date.

Source: ABC
Image: Getty Images / Michael Dodge