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Causing a Bushfire

Causing a Bushfire is an offence under 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 of the offence if:

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

A person may alternately be charged with setting or causing a fire without lawful authority which is an offence under Section 100(1) of the Rural Fires Act 1997, which attracts a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

That offence requires proof beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  1. Set or caused a fire to land or property belonging to another person or the public, or
  2. Permitted a fire to escape from land or occupied where this was likely to cause injury or damage to other people or property.

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