Queensland Fire and Rescue. FILE IMAGE
Queensland Fire and Rescue. FILE IMAGE Allan Reinikka

CQ man charged after allegedly deliberately lighting fire

SATURDAY 2.20PM:  DETECTIVES from the Major and Organised Crime Squad (MOCS - Rural) have charged a man following investigations into an allegedly lit fire off the Burnett Highway yesterday morning.

The 27-year-old Rockhampton man has been charged with one count of setting fire to crops and is due to appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Monday, December 3.

1.50PM: TWO men have been arrested, suspected of lighting fires in the Rockhampton area.

Fire near Bouldercombe: Fire near Bouldercombe
Fire near Bouldercombe: Fire near Bouldercombe

A 27-year-old man was arrested about 11.30am for allegedly attempting to light a grass fire beside the Burnett Hwy, Port Curtis after a tip-off from the public.

That man is assisting police with their investigations and is under police guard in hospital.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services confirmed the fire had been fully extinguished with the help of police, Rural Brigades and the public.

Emergency services on Gladstone Rd.
Emergency services on Gladstone Rd. Allan Reinikka

This follows an incident on Wednesday where a 26-year-old man allegedly set fire to vegetation in Park Avenue.

Police allege around 4.50pm on Wednesday afternoon, as thousands of people were evacuating Gracemere under threat of catastrophic fire, the man lit a fire in Farm St, near the Haynes St intersection.

Emergency services were alerted by a member of the public and the blaze brought quickly under control and extinguished. No property or structures were damaged, and a small amount of vegetation and grasslands was burnt.

The man is due to appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on December 17 charged with one count of endanger property by fire.

Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee, State Disaster Coordinator said that the Queensland Police Service treat all arson offences very seriously.

"Police will continue to patrol and actively target people who deliberately light fires. If you offend, you are going to get caught," he said.

Police near Bouldercombe.
Police near Bouldercombe. Allan Reinikka

"Arson can have devastating consequences including the potential for loss of life, the destruction of property, livestock and livelihoods.

"Under the Criminal Code, if a person is found guilty of arson they may be liable to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. And a 14-year prison sentence is possible for anyone found guilty of unlawfully setting fire to a crop or endangering property by setting fire."

Officers continue to patrol areas affected by bushfires and the community is encouraged to report suspicious behaviour to police.

Taskforce Vulcan, a multiagency taskforce targets deliberately lit fires.

The taskforce is used to educate the public, as well as investigate the cause of bushfires and prosecute those found to be illegally lighting fires, whether through acts of arson, recklessness or disregard for permit conditions.

12.13PM: A FIRE which may have been deliberately lit at Boundercombe is almost under control.

The Morning Bulletin understands police and land owners were fighting it until Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews got to the scene at the intersection of the Burnett Hwy and R Pearce Rd.

The fire is almost extinguished, with a few spot fires occasionally flaring.

Scenes of crime officers have been called.

11.57AM: POLICE have a man in custody.

11.50AM: POLICE are pursuing a man on foot after reports he was seen lighting a fire near the Burnett Hwy.

11.35AM: THERE are reports of a deliberately lit fire in the Bouldercombe area.

Emergency services are rushing to the Burnett Hwy near J Pearce Rd, after reports from the public that someone has lit a fire near the rail line.

Police on scene have confirmed there is a fire and fire crews are responding.