ARSONIST FEARS

By EMMA CORNFORD

FOUR fires which burned around 900 hectares of forest near Grafton on Monday afternoon are thought to have been deliberately lit.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) Clarence Valley zone manager Brett Condie said two fires were reported at around 4pm near Rileys Lane and Four Mile Lane on the Pacific Highway.

"The Glenugie RFS was the first at the scene and found multiple ignitions in Bom Bom State Forest," Mr Condie said.

"We're treating it as suspicious ... because of the positions of the fires and the RFS and police will be pursing a line of investigation as a result."

A police spokesman said officers had attended the blaze on Monday and encouraged anyone with information to pass it on to State Forests or police.

"There was some talk that it may have been deliberately lit and we liaised with the firies over there on Monday ... but if anyone out there does know anything it's important they contact one of the agencies involved."

Mr Condie said the blazes were all within an area contained by walking tracks in the forest and were brought under control at around 9pm on Monday.

"It was all very successful. A number of State Forest crews were there and RFS crews from Ulmarra, Grafton Trenayr and Iluka were in attendance as well," he said. "Control of the area for the mop up and patrols and that kind of thing has now been handed back to State Forests."

The fires caused a thick haze of smoke over Grafton and surrounding areas yesterday, which Mr Condie said could last for up to three days depending on the weather conditions.



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