A total of 183 people have been arrested by police across the states of Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania since November for 205 bushfire-related offences, local media reports.
In NSW, 24 were apprehended and charged with deliberately lighting bushfires. A further 53 people are facing legal action for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban, while 47 others are accused of improperly discarding a lit cigarette or match outdoors, according to the Nine network.
In Queensland, police concluded that 103 fires had been deliberately lit, with 98 people—67 of them juveniles—having been identified as the culprits.
Devastating bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months, killing at least 25 people and destroying hundreds of millions of animals and livestock. Over 2,000 homes have been destroyed by the blazes, which have so far burned through more than 5.25 million hectares (13 million acres) of land, an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland.