POLICE INVESTIGATE SUSPICIOUS FIRES

A satellite image taken on Saturday shows the smoke created by the out-of-control blazes.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw suspicious activity during yesterday’s total fire ban to come forward, as investigations begin into several blazes which are suspected to be deliberately lit.

Several new fires were sparked during Tuesday’s catastrophic conditions, with a state of emergency declared on Monday.

Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys says a whole-of-community approach is needed to combat potentially dangerous fire behaviour.

“Now we need help from the community again – this time to assist our detectives who are beginning investigations into the cause of fires suspected of being deliberately lit across several police area commands and police districts.”

Strike Force Tronto has been established to investigate the following fires:

10.30am – New England Highway near Moonbi – Oxley Police District

2.30pm – Hooka Creek Road, Berkeley – Lake Illawarra Police District

3.15pm – Three fires in bushland north west of Doonan Place, Balgownie – Wollongong Police District.

3pm – Near Bradley’s Reserve, Kissing Point Road – Kuring-Gai Police Area Command

4pm – Near Canoon Road, South Turramurra – Kuring-Gai Police Area Command

4.30pm – Around Honeymoon Lookout, Cliff Drive, Katoomba – Blue Mountains Police District

4.30pm – Four fires throughout Morisset – Lake Macquarie Police District

7pm – Royal National Park near Loftus – Sutherland Shire Police Area Command.

Lighting a fire during a Total Fire Ban attracts a $2,200 on the spot fine. If the matter goes further, a fine of up to $5500 and/or 12 months gaol can apply.

Penalties for a fire that damages life, property or the environment can attract fines of up to $132,000 and/or 14 years gaol.

A state of emergency continues across NSW.