Three 12-year-old boys were caught deliberately setting fires at a nature reserve this past weekend. This comes just after authorities in the area warn residents about the dangers of bushfires, and thousands of acres burn out of control.
Australia, where these fires took place, is currently experiencing a dry and hot summer, with strong winds that are encouraging bushfires spreading.
As of now right now, over 7,000 fires have raged across more than two million hectares of land, causing six deaths and over 650 destroyed homes. An estimated 1,400 other buildings, including barns, retail stores, and more have been burnt to the ground.
Three boys, who have not been named, have been taken into custody by local authorities after it was discovered that they purposefully lit several fires at a nature reserve in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It’s on the western shore of Lake Illawarra, roughly an hour and a half south of Sydney.
According to reports, two of the boys lit a bushfire just before 10:30 on Sunday morning. Yet another boy received a warning from police after trying to light a fire just after noon behind a sports club.
The two boys who successfully lit the fire in the morning are to be taken under the Young Offenders Act and will go to a youth conference whose aim is to steer youth from violence and crime. It is part of an overhaul of the juvenile justice system Australia went through in the late 90s.
Police say that the fires that were lit were able to be put out quickly by emergency services, but it could have been a lot worse.
The US media isn’t covering it a lot, but Australia is going through some of the worst brushfires and wildfires that the country has ever seen this year.
The fires the kids set came just days after officials warned that a huge bushfire burning across the New South Wales South Coast has doubled in size, with over 150 separate fires raging at once.
This week isn’t supposed to be better, either – winds are expected to gust up to 50 mph in some areas, carrying flames and sparks with them. Residents west of Sydney are not in danger “as of now”, but officials warn that could change at any time.
Over two million hectares of land have been burnt since July, and there is no end in sight right now. The air quality is southwest Syndey has been deemed by officials as “hazardous” due to smoke.