A TEENAGER is set to front a court hearing next year after allegedly lighting a fire which ripped through forested area about an hour outside Tamworth.
The 19-year-old man cannot be named for legal reasons and did not appear in Tamworth Children's Court earlier this week when his matter was called.
Court documents from the proceedings show the accused will fight the allegation at a closed court hearing, which has been set down for early February next year and is expected to take about an hour.
The teenager has been on bail since he was arrested in May, more than a year-and-a-half after the blaze broke out in the Hanging Rock area, near Nundle.
Magistrate Julie Soars continued his bail conditions and adjourned the matter to February.
Police allege the teenager deliberately lit the fire in late October 2019, and was then reckless as the flames spread onto the public lands of the Nundle State Forest.
The vegetation was ravaged in the blaze.
The teenager was also charged with stealing about 200 litres of diesel, worth more than $260, from a property at Hanging Rock around the same time as the fire was allegedly started.
Oxley officers investigating the suspicious blaze zeroed in on the man and arrested him, a breakthrough which came after a public appeal for information and the release of CCTV images as part of their inquiries.
Police have previously said the fire destroyed a large amount of pine plantation when it tore through the Nundle State Forest and racked up a damage bill.
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