BUG HUNT: Rural Fire Service investigator, Inspector Daniel Ainsworth puts up a notice seeking help to catch a suspected arsonist in theDyraaba area.
BUG HUNT: Rural Fire Service investigator, Inspector Daniel Ainsworth puts up a notice seeking help to catch a suspected arsonist in theDyraaba area. Mel McMillan

Hunt for serial arsonist

A SERIAL arsonist is suspected of lighting bushfires close to rural homes near Dyraaba, north-west of Casino.

Three bushfires have been lit in as many weeks at points along Dyraaba Road.

“It is alarming that there might be someone out there who wants to light fires,” Rural Fire Service investigator, Inspector Daniel Ainsworth, said.

The most recent, on Monday afternoon, burnt out 30ha of bushland for four hours before the fire service could bring it under control. About 25ha were destroyed in the previous fires.

Yesterday Insp Ainsworth was on the scene looking for clues on how the fire started, interviewing residents and talking to fire crews.

“I will track the fire to its point of ignition to see if I can work out how it started,” he said.

Superintendent Boyd Townsend said investigations so far were showing the cause was not accidental.

The Dyraaba fires were worrying because two were lit within 100 metres of homes, putting lives in danger, Supt Townsend said.

While serial arson on the Northern Rivers was very rare, the fire service would investigate any fire that appeared suspicious.

“We have the capacity to investigate all fires with trained staff and we want to get the message out that we will,” he said.

Current El Nino conditions were pointing to increased fire danger across the Northern Rivers.

“It's bad fire weather. There are above average temperatures forecast, low humidity and no rain,” he said.

Moderate to strong winds could mean the Northern Rivers was in for a disastrous summer.

Supt Townsend issued a reminder to property owners to have a fire plan for the season.

“They should mow their lawns, clear away fuel, have a secure source of water and know whether they will stay and fight or leave,” he said.

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