Man charged with 13 bushfires

IPSWICH police have charged a man with deliberately lighting 13 bushfires - one of which burned through an 80-hectare property at Fernvale last week.

The accused arsonist, a 37-year-old from Lowood, was arrested after a member of the public took down the registration details of a car which was seen leaving the scene of a recent grassfire.

The man is accused of using a cigarette lighter to ignite fires at various points around the Lowood and Fernvale district between January and August of this year.

Five of the fires were allegedly lit in the early summer months while the rest occurred in recent weeks.

Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch Detective Senior Constable Kerry McQuilty said police were grateful to the witness who dialled triple-0.

“With the weather we've had recently these fires could have been a lot worse; there could have been serious property damage” Const McQuilty said.

“We were just lucky the fires occurred at a time and place where the firefighters were able to get to them quickly and bring them under control.”

Although property damage was limited, one of the fires the man is accused of lighting burned through 80 hectares near Banks Creek Road at Fernvale last Tuesday.

Four rural crews and two firefighting helicopters were required to control the flames, which spread into inaccessible areas of the D'Aguilar Range National Park.

Const McQuilty said police were investigating other allegations against the man relating to a further four fires in the Lowood district.

The man has already been charged with 13 counts of arson and will appear at Ipswich Magistrates Court on October 8.

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