Police call arson after three fires in 24 hours in Murray Mallee

TWO fires in Murray Bridge and another in Coonalpyn have been deliberately lit in the last 24 hours according to police.

A police spokesperson said fire crews were called to a fire in a paddock on Old Swanport Road near Brinkley at 1.05am Monday, where a hay bale was deliberately set alight.

"At 10.45am yesterday a paddock was set alight on Narooma Boulevard Murray Bridge, Police located the fire in a vacant paddock that had burnt approximately 200-300 square metres of grass," the spokesperson said.

"At 2.30pm 7 kilometres south of Cold and Wet Road, Coonalpyn 10 hectares of Mallee scrub and stubble and 1km of fencing were burnt by fire that appears to have been started from the roadside."

The spokesperson said police believed the fires formed part of a series of deliberately lit fires over the past three years.

"Murray Bridge Police are seeking any information in relation to these fires," the spokesperson said.

"Police request that everyone remains vigilant and aware, and that if they are reporting a fire, to make a note describing any person they’ve seen in the vicinity of the fire. If possible, also record details of any registration plates on vehicles."

On November 7, The Murray Valley Standard reported police were on the lookout for a suspected arsonist in the area following a series of fires.

Murray Mallee Local Service Area superintendent Les Buckley said evidence had been found to show fires at Rockleigh, Woods Point, Murray Bridge and Monarto had been deliberately lit, with incendiary devices used to start  the Woods Point and Monarto fires on October 26.

A police spokesperson said South Australia Police were monitoring People of Interest (POI) as part of operation NOMAD.

"All High Risk POI’s will be subject to personal-contact visits on Extreme Fire Danger Days, to reduce and disrupt their opportunities to set fires," the spokesperson said.

"Other risk persons will regularly monitored. 

"There are NOMAD POI vehicles of interest listed in the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system."

The spokesperson said all police vehicles are fitted with the latest Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system.

"Automatic Number Plate Recognition scans the registration number plates of passing vehicles, capturing an image of the vehicle, its registration plate and GPS location, as the police vehicle is in motion.

"These scanned plates are then validated against a special download of the NOMAD Hot List database."

The system immediately alerts operators if any vehicles of interest are detected.

As part of operation NOMAD police will conduct high visibility patrols in high-risk fire areas to enhance community confidence and ensure the ability to provide a rapid response to the outbreak of bushfires, reducing their impact on the community

The police spokesperson said police will adopt a zero-tolerance policy to breaches of fire laws,

"If there is a fire, police will liaise with the Country Fire Service Incident management team, staff any required road closures, commence investigation into the fire origin and cause."

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide