Man driving on rims allegedly sparks blaze in area ravaged by Victoria's bushfires

Hundreds of firefighters remain on the ground in Victoria as blazes continue to threaten homes and lives.

A man accused of driving his car on its rims, allegedly sparking a total of four roadside fires in a bushfire zone, will face court on a string of negligent driving offences.

Police say the Ballarat man was allegedly seen driving his green Mitsubishi Magna sedan through Buangnor at 6.15pm on Sunday with the left passenger rim exposed.

Members of the public notified authorities, with huge sparks seen flying out onto the road in shocking footage, as the man drove the damaged vehicle along the Western Highway. The area already had a heavy police presence due to the region's ongoing bushfire threat, with officers alleging the man's actions resulted in four seperate fires along the stretch of road, Nine News reported.

Sparks can be seen from a car on it rims in Ballarat.
A Victorian man has been accused of sparking a number of blazes in a bushfire zone from driving his car on its rims. Source: 7News
An extinguished grass fire in Ballarat allegedly sparked by the driving of the car on its rims.
Police say the man was allegedly responsible for a total of four roadside fires, which were later extinguished. Source: Victoria Police

One witness concerned the sparks would ignite more bushfires said the sight reduced her to tears. "There were sparks flying everywhere," Kerry Whitehead told Nine News. "I started crying, it was just that bad, I thought, 'Oh, we're finished'."

Allegedly erratic driving ends in arrest

The man from Sebastopol in Ballarat is also accused of driving erratically through the area, at one point allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road and narrowly avoiding a pedestrian.

According to police, when they tried to pull the 27-year-old man over, he allegedly tried to evade apprehension, attempting to drive through parkland, before stopping and running from the dumped car as bystanders chased him, holding him down until officers arrived.

A view of the man's arrest at Ballarat.
The 27-year-old Ballarat man allegedly attempted to evade police before being apprehended by bystanders, who held him down until officers arrived. Source: 7News

Eventually, they caught up to the man and placed him under arrest.

Man denies starting fires

Footage shows the man deny claims he started bushfires, saying: "I'm a silly bloke but I'm not that silly, alright". "If I started a fire I would've stopped and put it out," he told 7News.

He was charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury, driving whilst disqualified, careless driving and using an unregistered and unroadworthy vehicle.

The man was bailed and will appear before court on March 18.

Some 900 firefighters continue to fight a blaze burning out of control in the state's west as they brace for another week of sweltering conditions. Authorities hold concerns the situation will escalate this week, with temperatures forecast to reach "catastrophic" levels.

The bushfire burning near Ballarat has already claimed six homes

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