Authorities said over two dozens people in the state of New South Wales have been charged with intentionally setting Australia bushfires.
On Monday, Jan. 6, the New South Wales police said that it has taken legal action against over 180 people for fire-related offenses since early November 2019.
Among over 180 people who face legal actions, 24 people were accused of deliberately setting fires, according to the New South Wales Police Force.
Figures released also showed legal action had been taken against 47 people for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.
In addition, another 53 people also faced legal action for not complying with the state’s fire ban.
Forty of those facing legal action are juveniles.
The bushfires have cost more than 20 people their lives and over 2,000 homes and other structures have been destroyed. More than 12 million acres have burned in Australia since the start of the fire season.
About 480 million animals have perished in Australia’s fires in New South Wales alone, according to The University of Sydney.
If convicted, those charged could face up to 21 years in prison for starting a bushfire intentionally and being reckless in causing its spread, according to ABC News.
Police urge people to provide video or images from their phones, dash cameras, or other devices that show fires in their early stages to help them determine how the fires started.
Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.