Two men charged with arson amid raging Queensland fires

Two men have been arrested accused of deliberately lighting fires near Rockhampton, while hundreds of firefighters put their lives on the line to fight the flames.

Locals spotted one man acting suspiciously at Bouldercombe and helped police make an arrest.

The alleged arsonist was captured and taken to Rockhampton hospital, suffering burns to his hands.

The 27-year-old is the second man this week to be arrested for allegedly starting a fire in the region.

Two men have been arrested accused of deliberately lighting fires near Rockhampton. Source: 7 News
Two men have been arrested accused of deliberately lighting fires near Rockhampton. Source: 7 News

The offence carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Bob Gee.

“I’m always concerned that people would risk the lives of others,” he said.

“In this environment where police, the public and the community are working together, the chances of you being caught are very, very high.”

100 fires ravage Queensland

Firebugs are the last thing exhausted firefighters should be dealing with after long days battling monster blazes on the frontline.

“We are seeing fires igniting constantly,” said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll.

More than 100 fires are currently burning statewide, with around 70 of those in Central Queensland.

There are no signs of the fires easing, with extreme weather conditions expected to last at least another four days.

The arrests come as hundreds of firefighters put their lives on the line to fight the flames. Source: 7 News
The arrests come as hundreds of firefighters put their lives on the line to fight the flames. Source: 7 News

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the event as “deeply distressing”.

At Miriam Vale, she spoke with dozens of emotional residents forced to flee their homes, pledging $125,000 to kick-start the Queensland Bushfire Appeal.

“We’ve got a long way to go. Please, please help Queensland families that are really doing it tough at the moment,” she begged.

Queenslanders desperate to return home following fires

Among the many anxious and frustrated locals the premier has been talking to, the questions have been largely the same: When can they get back into their properties? When can they find out the extent of the damage?

Deepwater resident Terry Western and his much-loved joey Baby escaped from the Deepwater fire zone five days ago.

The former rural firefighter is desperate for news about his property and livestock.

“My animals are everything to me,” he said.

Thick smoke rises from a large bushfire near Deepwater in central Queensland on Friday. Source: AAP
Thick smoke rises from a large bushfire near Deepwater in central Queensland on Friday. Source: AAP

“I can only be positive and think of the best, otherwise I’d be beside myself,” he said.

“If we don’t get some answers today I am going to go home. I’m not going to see all my animals dying because there’s nobody there to look after them.”

Authorities are adamant it’s still too soon to return.

“It’s simply not safe to go back there, but as soon as it is, we promise to come directly to the residents first and let them know,” Deputy Commissioner Gee said.

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