POLICE are investigating a report that several trees near a controlled burn being carried out by Rural Fire Service (RFS) personnel were illegally set on fire by other people.
The unauthorised fire was reported to police by the RFS this week after it became aware of the attack, following a controlled burn near Somerton last weekend.
The RFS conducted the burn near a reserve on the river, to reduce hazardous fire conditions in the lead-up to summer, but discovered at least two trees had been set alight by others who weren’t authorised crews.
Tamworth RFS’s Allyn Purkiss said the trees had been set alight after Wednesday. He said the investigation was referred to Somerton police, with all information about the incident passed on to them.
He said crews were on the scene again yesterday to ensure the lit trees did not cause any outbreaks.
An unconfirmed report to The Leader suggested trees of historical Aboriginal significance were involved in the controlled burn.
Tamworth RFS Inspector Steve Prior said anything of historical Aboriginal significance was marked on National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) maps and was taken into account when planning hazard reductions.
“The last thing you want to do is destroy our history,” he said.
Mr Purkiss said the information on its register, the same used by the NPWS, showed there were no significant trees near Somerton.
Investigations are continuing.