24 Australians arrested for deliberately setting bushfires

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In this Monday, Dec. 30, 2019 photo provided by State Government of Victoria, a helicopter tackles a wildfire in East Gippsland, Victoria state, Australia. Wildfires burning across Australia’s two most-populous states trapped residents of a seaside town in apocalyptic conditions Tuesday, Dec. 31, and were feared to have destroyed many properties and caused fatalities. (State Government of Victoria via AP)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two dozen Australians are accused of intentionally setting fires as the devastating brushfires continue to rage across the continent.

The News South Wales Police Force said 24 people were charged with deliberately setting fires and 159 others are facing legal action for committing brushfire-related offenses such a as failing to comply with a total fire ban and discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.

Police said those who intentionally start a brushfire could face up to 21 years in prison.

At least 24 people were killed and about half a billion animals perished in the fires as they burned through more than 15.6 million acres, destroying more than 1,400 homes.

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