Australia Wildfires: Arson Arrests Top 180 As Bushfires Rage On

As the crisis in Australia continues with wildfires raging across the country, there has also been an alarming amount of arson arrests in recent months as firefighters attempt to control the blazes. According to a report from The Australian, more than 180 arrests have been made related to arson during the bushfire season.

A total of 183 arrests have come across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, while a majority of the arrests have come in Queensland.

Per the report, 101 people have been picked up for setting fires in Queensland including 32 adults and 69 juveniles.

Melbourne University associate professor Janet Stanley said that a majority of the arsonists are either young males between the ages of 12 and 24 or older men who are in their 60s.

“There is no one profile, but generally they seem to have a background of disadvantage, a traumatic upbringing and often have endured neglect and abuse as a child,” the professor said. “They are often kids not succeeding in school, or they have left school early and are unemployed. The boundaries between accidentally and purposefully are unclear because many arsonists don’t plan on causing the catastrophe that occurs. Often there is not an intention to cause chaos and the penalties for accidentally lighting a fire are far less than purposefully lighting a fire.”

Two men were recently picked up for arson this week, according to the local ABC outlet. There were also reports back in November of a teenage volunteer firefighter setting 7 fires, according to The Guardian.

Of course, it is important to note that arson is not solely to blame. While it is bushfire season, Australia has also been suffering from drought conditions. The fires were also fueled by unusually hot temperatures, which has gained the attention of climate change activists.

The wildfires in Australia have accounted for at least 24 deaths since October. More than 1,300 homes and businesses have been destroyed in the inferno and it is believed that hundreds of thousands of wildlife have been killed.

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