– People caught recklessly igniting bushfires could be forced to pay the cost of extinguishing the blazes, potentially totalling millions of dollars, as part of a Victoria Police crackdown.
Arson Squad head Jeff Maher said there had been a growing trend in the number of fires caused by reckless behaviour last summer.
The most devastating was the Aberfeldy blaze in Gippsland, which killed one man, burnt more than 85,000 hectares and destroyed 21 houses, 35 sheds and 11 vehicles.
It is understood that the Country Fire Authority and Department of Sustainability and Environment spent tens of millions of dollars fighting the blaze.
A 75-year-old man was arrested over the Aberfeldy blaze and is due to reappear at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court for a committal hearing on May 2nd, where he is facing five charges, including recklessly causing bushfire and causing a fire to be lit without written authority in a fire-protected area during a prohibited period.
Detective Senior Sergeant Maher said fires were recklessly being lit by people using angle grinders, welders, farm machinery and burning off during days of heightened fire danger.
He said as part of the crackdown, police would seek the costs of controlling and extinguishing fires from people found to have recklessly lit the blaze.
Senior Sergeant Maher said police would use the Sentencing Act to seek fire suppression costs, which he said might lead to civil lawsuits after the initial criminal proceedings.
But Senior Sergeant Maher said such costs and court action could be avoided.
CFA Operations officer Graham Lay, who is based with the Victoria Police Arson Squad, said the costs of extinguishing fires were astronomical and warned there would be more prosecutions against people lighting reckless fires.
Mr Lay said firefighters continued to see people using welding and grinding equipment during the fire danger days, as well as people driving through paddocks with high grass, which had the potential to ignite a big inferno – Jared Lynch

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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