A teenage boy has been arrested after a bushfire was deliberately lit on the central Queensland coast over the weekend.
The Cobraball fire, near Yeppoon, is still burning days after it ravaged the area, destroying 36 buildings and burning at least 14 homes to the ground.
After the blaze started at approximately 1:30pm on Saturday, November 9, it then spread to the surrounding areas of Bungundarra, Adelaide Park, Maryville and Lake Mary.
Police say the 16-year-old boy has not been charged with arson, but will be dealt with under the state’s Youth Justice Act in relation to the fire, The Guardian reports.
State disaster coordinator and Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said, as per ABC News:
This investigation’s been ongoing since the start of the fire, so we’ve had an avenue of investigation that we’ve been pursuing.
Last week, authorities said they are now facing what could be ‘the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen’, with fires continuing to rage through parts of Queensland and New South Wales (NSW).
More than 70 bushfires were still burning across the state on Thursday, November 14, with six ‘watch and act’ warnings in place. Residents have been forced to flee their homes to escape the fires, which in some instances came within just metres of people’s properties.
Residents of two Queensland towns – Black Snake and Woodgate – were told to leave immediately as bushfires in the areas worsened, while NSW authorities warned conditions could deteriorate as the weekend approached.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) said conditions in both Black Snake and Woodgate deteriorated overnight and were not expected to improve in the near future.
The QFES assistant commissioner Tony Johnstone said more than a dozen aircrafts were being prepared to bring a number of the fires under control, while moist coastal winds brought short-lived relief on Thursday.
However, that wasn’t expected to last long, with forecasters warning westerly winds would dominate conditions on Friday, November 15, as the fire threat intensified.
A spokesperson said:
We would expect to see the maximum temperature quickly return to 4C to 8C above the November average on Friday and into the weekend. When we combine that with the dry air, we expect to see elevated fire dangers once again as we head toward the weekend.
Four people have died and more than 170 properties have been destroyed since the fire emergency intensified in NSW on Friday, with more than 800 firefighters remaining in the field to protect properties and continue to tackle the blazes.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by these devastating fires.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).