THE Tamworth RFS chief has launched a stinging attack on firebugs suspected of lighting a string of fires during almost catastrophic conditions.
Fire crews thought they had a routine emergency callout in the early hours of Saturday morning, but when they rolled the truck out and headed for the fire, what they saw next left them dumbfounded.
Battling some very hot temperatures and blustery conditions, the RFS team stumbled across not one, but seven spot fires sparked within kilometres of one another.
“These people are out to kill someone,” Tamworth RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said of the suspected arsonist.
“They are not just lighting fires, they will kill someone in those extreme, almost catastrophic conditions.”
The RFS sounded the alarm with crews from Kootingal, Attunga and three trucks from Moore Creek deployed to try and douse five fires along Moore Creek Rd, while two trucks from Tamworth were sent to try and extinguish two fires, including the scrub alight on Daruka Rd.
A Fire and Rescue NSW truck was also called out to back up the local crews.
“It was still 35 degrees and a howling wind, so we were very concerned it was going to get into the scrub there,” Superintendent Purkiss said.
“There are a lot of properties up there so there was a very real risk.”
Superintendent Purkiss said Friday had thrown some of the worst bushfire conditions at local crews, and to be called out to a deliberately-lit fire was extremely frustrating.
“They are not just having fun, it’s criminal ... if it had got away then it could have been very dangerous,” he said.
“Luckily, they were onto them very quickly, they only got to about a hectare each, maybe less.”
Tamworth police have confirmed detectives are investigating the fires.