DETECTIVES will allege an Ebor man intentionally lit a fire to protect a cannabis crop, before it spiralled out of control on Friday and threatened homes in Ebor.
The 51-year-old is bail refused, after being charged late on Friday night by detectives at Armidale police station.
He was questioned by detectives before being charged with intentionally causing a fire and being reckless to its spread.
Detectives will allege in court on Saturday that the man lit the fire at Guyra Road about 10km west of Ebor, as an attempt to back burn for the protection of a cannabis crop.
They further allege he perceived benefit from recovery work after the fire and made no attempt to control the blaze, which has burnt thousands of hectares.
He spent the night in custody in the Armidale police cells and will front Armidale Local Court on Saturday morning.
The fire has burnt more than 3,500 hectares, and threatened the village of Ebor on Friday afternoon after it came under ember attack.
An Emergency Warning was issued by the RFS, but that has since been downgraded to advice level.
The RFS said the conditions have eased on the fireground and there is no immediate threat to homes, but locals are urged to monitor the conditions.
Police said investigations are continuing into the fire.
If found guilty of the charge, the man faces a maximum penalty of 21 years' imprisonment.
AN EBOR man remains in custody at Armidale police station, being questioned by detectives after a fire was deliberately sparked near Ebor on Friday afternoon.
Firefighters are working to control the massive blaze which threatened Ebor, and has burnt more than 2000 hectares.
The fire - which sparked an emergency warning as it moved fast in dry grass and bushland towards the village - has now been downgraded to a Watch-and-Act fire warning.
The RFS said crews, backed by Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers from Victoria, had been working to save homes in the township, and conditions had eased on Friday night.
The fire was continuing to burn in the area of Guyra Road, and the RFS warned residents to monitor conditions.
Police claim the fire was sparked in bushland, about 10km west of Ebor.
ACM revealed earlier today that witnesses reported a man acting suspiciously and police were alerted.
After investigations, detectives tracked the man to a location in Ebor where he was arrested at about 2pm today.
He was taken to Armidale police station, where he remains in custody, being questioned by detectives.
Police have confirmed he is assisting with inquires, but no charges have been laid at this stage.
A total fire ban is in place on Friday and Saturday in the New England area.
A MAN has been arrested, suspected of lighting an out-of-control bushfire that is currently threatening homes east of Armidale.
A 51-year-old man was arrested in Ebor a short time ago and is en route to Armidale police station, to be questioned about allegedly lighting a fire in bushland, just out of Ebor.
An emergency warning is in place for the Guyra Road fire, which is out of control.
The NSW Rural Fire Service warns it is a fast-moving fire that is burning in the area of Guyra Road, towards the Ebor village and embers are threatening the township.
Residents have been told to seek shelter as the fire front arrives, but it is too late to leave. Police and emergency services are scrambling to protect properties and locals.
The fire is believed to have been sparked earlier today about 10km west of Ebor, in bushland.
Witnesses reported a man acting suspiciously and police were alerted.
After investigations, detectives tracked the man to a location in the town where he was arrested.
He is assisting with inquires, but no charges have been laid at this stage.
More to come.