Over two dozen people have been arrested for arson in Australia as wildfires displacing thousands of people and killing millions of animals continue to rage.
A state of emergency was announced last week.
Two dozen people have been arrested for allegedly setting brush fires intentionally that have displaced thousands of people and destroyed wildlife in Australia in recent weeks.
“As inquiries continue, police are appealing to the community to provide footage and/or images from phones, dashcam, or other devices that show any of the fires in their infancy, even if only from a distance,” police said in a statement.
The fires have killed 18 people and destroyed hundreds of millions of animals and livestock, thousands of homes, and more than 4.9 million hectares of land.
Those charged with arson could face harsh penalties, including manslaughter, which carries a penalty of 25 years in prison. Police in New South Wales have taken legal action against 183 people for fire-related offenses since early November, including “discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.” Three men were also charged with looting vacated properties.
“The community and the government has a right to be outraged. We are not living in South Central L.A. We don’t live in Syria. We don’t do this to each other. This is the south coast of New South Wales,” NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliot said, calling anyone who loots the home of a family that has “potentially lost everything … the lowest of the low.”