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POLICE have charged a 17-year-old boy – a former volunteer firefighter – after a spate of more than 20 deliberately lit fires in the Perth Hills this week.

The teenager has been charged with four counts of arson after he was arrested by detectives from the arson squad this afternoon. bush fire

Police say they expect more charges to be laid over the outstanding fires in the Shire of Mundaring on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The arrest comes after a six-month operation between FESA, the Department of Environment and Conservation and the police arson squad targeting arsonists in the Perth foothills

Detective Sergeant David Gorton said police had focused their attention on the teenager since mid-March.

“We will allege that this young man lit two fires (Wednesday) – one in Hovea and one in Parkerville – in the space of about 15 minutes,” Det-Sgt Gorton said.

“The previous charges relate to February this year in Glen Forrest and then March in Parkerville again.”

It is understood the teenager was a volunteer firefighter when he allegedly lit the Glen Forrest and first Parkerville fires, but he resigned from the position two weeks ago.

“No property was damaged in relation to these fires however, some of the fires were lit in close proximity to houses so there was always a danger that given a wind direction change or other circumstances that property could have been damaged,” he said.

“Certainly there was the potential for property and lives to be lost in relation to what he was doing.”
The teenager has also been charged with five counts of making malicious phone calls to 000 earlier this year.

The maximum penalty for bushfire arson convictions is a $250,000 fine and/or 14 years in jail.

www.news.com.au

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