Police say a bushfire, lit by a 12-year-old boy in Karloo this week, cost $12,000 in emergency service resources to put the blaze out.
The boy pleaded guilty to a charge of lighting or attempting to light a fire likely to injure in the Geraldton Children’s Court yesterday.
He was remanded on bail to appear again in court today, where he faces a charge of stealing a motor vehicle.
Fire crews attended the blaze on Assen Street, Karloo about 1pm on Monday.
Their efforts to dampen down the blaze were hampered by strong winds, reaching as high as 72km/h.
Geraldton police Sgt Grant Rosman said the fire presented a significant risk to residents and property.
“Part of the blaze crossed the road,” he said.
“This resulted in spot fires at residents’ properties from the embers.”
He said nine officers were redirected from front-line duties to assist fire crews at the blaze.
It was fully-extinguished by 9pm.
“Police officers and vehicles were redirected from other tasking requirements to help manage road blocks and support the Department of Fire and Emergency Services,” he said.
Geraldton Fire and Rescue Service, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and the Moonyoonooka Volunteer Bush Fire were all called to attend.
Chief bushfire control officer Andy Darbyshire said deliberately lit fires placed the City of Greater Geraldton’s fire crews under severe, and unnecessary, pressure.
“The bushfire brigades cover a huge area, the City of Greater Geraldton is 12,500sqm … so there is still risk of fires in the areas the bushfire brigades cover,” he said.
“To get dragged into town for things like this — which are preventable — it is annoying because there are other risks of ignition.
“When it’s a deliberate act by someone, it’s just disappointing because we do have enough threats in the bigger area.”He said the vast cropping areas, many home to powerlines, were at particular risk of bushfires in the summer months.
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