Police are urging calm after several fires have led people start discussions over the possibility of arson.
Police are urging calm after several fires have led people start discussions over the possibility of arson. Samantha Wantling

Arson talk 'a concern'

THE word "arson” has been bandied about in recent weeks amid the prevalence of fires.

Local police have cautioned against such hysteria, warning the public that "Chinese whispers” are helping no-one.

"Whilst the situation with the fires is a concern in the number we're having, I just think we need to keep it in perspective that not every one of these fires has been deliberately lit,” Stanthorpe Senior-Sergeant Gerard Brady said.

"We have to be careful that we don't say all these fires are suspicious.”

Sen-Sgt Brady said he had seen concerning commentary on social media - particularly after a recent fire at Ballandean.

"After that one, people were saying things like 'the arsonist is back' and 'we're gonna kill him when we find him' ... little did they know it was from a camp fire,” he said.

Police are only treating one fire as suspicious. A man was spotted in the vicinity of McKillop Lane, shortly before a fire started on August 13.

"I don't think as a community that we need to be alarmed but we need to be alert.”

Darling Downs Rural Fire Service acting area director John Welke sees the situation differently.

"We are treating quite a number of them as suspicious,” he said.

Mr Welke made particular reference to several small fires clustered in the Dalveen-Thulimbah area.

"Relatively small but quite a large number in a couple hours of each other,” he said.

None from the last week was being investigated.

"We just ask if people do see anything suspicious that they contact Crimestoppers and report.”

Stanthorpe Border Post

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