POLICE are appealing for witnesses following a bushfire in the Royal National Park earlier this month.
emergency services responded to a fire near the shores of South West Arm in the Royal National Park about 11am on Saturday August 17.
The fire was extinguished by NSW Rural Fire Service on Tuesday August 20, and a crime scene was established.
Following inquiries, police believe there may be witnesses, possibly in boats, that were in the area when the fire started, who are yet to speak with police.
Police are urging anyone with information about these fires to call Sutherland Shire detectives on (02) 9542 0844 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Police are also reminding people that they could face penalties if found responsible for the lighting of bushfires – accidental or otherwise.
Penalties relating to bushfires under the NSW Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act, and Rural Fires Regulation include:
– Damaging property with the intention of endangering life – up to 25 years imprisonment;
– Manslaughter – up to 25 years imprisonment;
– Starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread – up to 14 years imprisonment;
– Lighting a fire when a total fire ban is in place – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine;
– Not putting out a fire that you have lit – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine;
– Failing to comply with a bush fire hazard reduction notice – up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine;
– Light or use a tobacco product within 15m of any stack of grain, hay corn, straw or any standing crop, dry grass or stubble field – up to a $5500 fine.