Police have arrested a NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteer who they allege deliberately lit a bunch of grass fires across the southwest of the state.
It’s alleged the man lit over 30 fires around the tiny town of Whitton, roughly 40 km south of Griffith, between November 2020 and January 2021.
He was a serving member of the RFS for the whole damn time, but he’s now been discharged for obvious reasons.
The 30-year-old man was arrested on Friday, but NSW Police delayed the announcement because it coincided with a memorial for people who died in the last bushfire season.
He’s been charged with five counts of intentionally causing fires and recklessly letting them spread.
The arrest was the culmination of Strike Force Rummery, which was set up earlier in January to investigate the cause of the fires.
Officers also searched the former RFS volunteer’s home and apparently took a bunch of items with them for forensic investigation.
While these fires weren’t part of the horrific 2019/2020 bushfire season, they still had the potential to be extremely severe, considering the intense heat we’ve had this summer.
Those previous fires killed 33 people, destroyed over 3,000 homes and affected three billion animals.
To think that someone who was supposed to be protecting us from these fires may well have been responsible for some of the new ones over the past few months is stomach-churning.
It also comes after the nation rallied around the NSW RFS, pulling together tens of millions of dollars of donations.
The man was denied bail and will appear at the Wagga Wagga Local Court on Wednesday.