Simultaneous bushfire blazes raise suspicions of arson

Fighting the Tapping fire. Picture Kerin McDonald
Fighting the Tapping fire. Picture Kerin McDonald

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services received a report of the first fire about 9.45am on February 18 near Pinjar Road, Tapping, and less than half an hour later, there was another report of a fire near Lake Joondalup.

‘That’s definitely suspicious and under investigation,’ DFES spokesman Russell Jones said.

‘Given the nature of the swamp edge, it (was) going to take a while to blacken out.’

Two helitacs, a helicopter, career firefighters from Joondalup and Wangara, volunteer bush fire brigades from Wanneroo, Quinns Rocks, East Swan and West Swan attended the Tapping fire, which burnt about 10ha near market gardens.

He said the helitacs also dropped water onto the 9ha Lake Joondalup fire, as well as the air crane helicopter and two fixed wing planes.

Fire and Rescue crews from Butler, Duncraig, Ellenbrook, Fremantle, Malaga and Perth were present too, plus the Yanchep volunteers and Wanneroo Central and Quinns Rocks volunteer bush fire brigades.

Mr Jones said the firefighters ” about 40 at Wanneroo and 20 at Tapping ” and aerial support were able to contain and control both fires with no immediate threat to homes but plenty of smoke.

He said the Arson Squad attended both fires and anyone who saw suspicious behaviour in the areas can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Earlier this month, police spokeswoman Susan Usher said the arson squad’s Strike Force Vulcan had investigated almost 750 since mid-December and charged 12 people, including 10 juveniles, with arson-related offences.

She asked residents to report suspicious people or vehicles in bushland to police on 131 444 or report fires promptly by calling 000.

‘There are significant rewards on offer for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist,’ she said.