Man, 51, accused of lighting out-of-control fire 'to protect cannabis crop'

A 51-year-old man has been charged with lighting an out-of-control fire in the NSW Northern Tablelands in order to protect a cannabis crop.

The fast-moving blaze at Guyra Road in Ebor, northeast of Armidale, was burning across more than 2000 hectares on Friday afternoon as it spread towards the Ebor township.

The fire was reported to emergency services about 10.30pm (local time) on Thursday.

A 51-year-old man has been charged after being accused of intentionally lighting a fire at Ebor. Pictured is a stock image of a NSW bushfire. Source: AAP

The man was arrested just after 2pm on Friday in Ebor and charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless to its spread.

Police will allege in court the man lit the fire as an attempt at a backburn to protect a cannabis crop and made no attempt to control the blaze. They also allege he hoped to benefit from government payments in the recovery after the fire.

He was refused bail to appear at Armidale Local Court on Saturday.

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