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What does the law say about causing bushfires?

  • By:Danyelle

The criminal law in New South Wales contains a rage of offences which prohibits lighting fires without lawful authority.

The offence of “causing a bushfire” is contained in section 203E of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison.

To establish an offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

1. You intentionally caused a fire; and
2. You were at least reckless about its spread to vegetation on public land or to land belonging to another.

You are not responsible for this offence if:

1. You were a firefighter; or
2. You were acting under the direction of a firefighter; or
3. You were firefighting or conducting hazard reduction operations.

Alternatively, a person may be charged with setting or causing a fire without lawful authority which is an offence under section 100(1) of the Rural Fire Act 1997, which attracts a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison or a fine of $11,000.

The statutory Bush Fire Danger Period runs from 1 October to 31 March. After the catastrophic fire events of early this year, please take caution with fires – especially back burning.

Whatever your situation may be, at Anderson Boemi Lawyers, we will fight to ensure you get the best possible result. Call Anderson Boemi Lawyers today on (02) 9653 9466.

Posted in: Announcement, Criminal Defence, Trusted Law Agency