Authorities have slammed members of the public for bizarre behaviour during the NSW bushfires saying they “must have arrived from Mars”.
A small minority of residents have been ignoring advice, flying drones, and even lighting fires as emergency services slam the “sheer stupidity” of the acts.
NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott says people "must have arrived from Mars in a bubble" to not know about total fire bans in the state after four alleged breaches of the ban amid "catastrophic" danger.
Three men allegedly breached NSW's total fire ban this week while a nine-year-old boy has allegedly admitted to lighting a fire with a blowtorch.
NSW Police allege the first incident saw a 27-year-old man light a small campfire at Wallacia in Sydney's west on Monday to boil water for tea. He extinguished the flames when authorities arrived and was fined $2200.
A 35-year-old Prestons man also allegedly burned fence palings in a cylindrical barbecue, causing a fire, while the third man allegedly lit a small coal barbecue at a Lalor Park home in Sydney's west on Tuesday.
Meanwhile a member of the public was chided for flying a drone near dangerous fire areas in northern Sydney, after it was spotted hovering near smoke in the city’s North Shore.
“There are no circumstances where an unauthorised drone should be flown near a fire,” Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said Tuesday. “It is sheer stupidity as it puts lives at risk, both on the ground and in the air.”
Flying a drone in or anywhere near bushfires could cost you up to $10,500, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority warned the public yesterday.
“Creating a hazard to firefighting aircraft may also result in two years jail,” it said.
Warning over fire thieves
On Tuesday, NSW police issued a stern warning condemning any potential acts of looting following unconfirmed reports on social media of stealing offences within bushfire-affected areas of NSW.
While no investigations were underway, State Emergency Operations Controller Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said it was deeply concerning to think that anyone would use the bushfire emergency to target vulnerable members of the community.
“These communities have suffered enough without individuals stealing what items they have left,” Cmr Worboys said.
A Byron Bay resident claims someone broke into his car after filling it with his belongings.
“A coward decided to break into our car by smashing both windows,” the man wrote on Facebook appealing for information on Monday as he revealed a guitar was among the stolen items.
Meanwhile a Koonorigan man was arrested after he was allegedly found in possession of stolen Rural Fire Service and ambulance equipment, according to The Northern Star.
Others have been accused of poor taste rather than poor judgement with tourists spotted taking happy snaps amid the fiery haze blanketing the Blue Mountains on Tuesday despite warnings.
The total state-wide fire ban has been extended into Wednesday for NSW. It means people cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open, or carry out any activity in the open that causes, or is likely to cause, a fire.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.