Police in Australia have arrested and charged two dozen people they say deliberately lit blazes during the wildfire season that has so far killed at least 18 people, destroyed thousands of homes and ravaged over 10 million acres of land.
New South Wales police said that since the beginning of November, 24 people have been charged over allegedly deliberately lighting fires as officers continue to investigate the role that arson has played in the devastation. Starting a wildfire can result in a jail sentence of up to 21 years.
What Caused the Wildfires in Australia?
There has been much debate about the links between climate change and the fires. Australian National University climate scientist Imran Ahmed told the BBC there was a direct link “because what climate change does is exacerbate the conditions in which the bushfires happen.”
Glenda Wardle, an ecologist from the University of Sydney, told the BBC: “It’s not every weather event that is the direct result of climate change. But when you see trends…it becomes undeniably linked to global climate change.”