Cool weather and COVID snuff out firebugs

·1-min read

A milder season and the coronavirus pandemic have prompted a big fall in the number of people arrested or reported for causing bushfires in South Australia.

Nearing the annual close of Operation Nomad, which monitors known firebugs and focuses on behaviour that may cause fires, police say only seven people were arrested or reported in the past bushfire season.

That compared with 85 people last year.

A further 24 people were issued fines but that was also down on 121 last season.

Fines are issued for minor offences such as lighting and maintaining a fire in the open, or failing to comply with the restrictions on the use of certain appliances.

Of the 454 Nomad classified fires, 333 were deemed non-suspicious, 22 were deliberately lit, 74 were considered suspicious and 25 remained undetermined incidents.

"Arrests and reports are well down from last year. This is likely due to prevailing weather and social conditions," Superintendent Kym Hand said.

Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia said Operation Nomad had once again "poured cold water on dangerous behaviour that risks lives".

"Firebugs have no place in our community and their reckless actions will not be tolerated."

Under Operation Nomad police currently monitor the movements of 89 people.