Hunt for arsonist heats up after spate of blazes
A SPATE of deliberately-lit fires has police tracking a suspected arsonist targeting cane farms south of Mackay.
At least four fires have been lit in the Sarina to St Lawrence district in the past two weeks, with the latest in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Sarina Sergeant Mick Jones said a cane crop off Cone Creek Rd at Koumala was set alight about 2am Saturday.
It tore through the lower half of the crop before the farmer managed to extinguish it.
The fire caused minimal damage to the crop.
It was the latest in a string of fires that investigators have determined were most likely deliberately lit.
It has forced police to increase patrols in targeted hours of the afternoon and mornings.
Sgt Jones said the fires had been reported between August 19 and 24, with ignition points identified as on road shoulders.
Multiple Rural Fire Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews were called to reports of a bushfire near Carmila on Wednesday, August 19, in what grew into a large response effort to contain it.
Crews reported the fire was under control but were called back the next day because of a possible flare up.
However investigations suggested the fire had been deliberately reignited in a different location but in proximity to the burned land.
At least another three fires have been deemed suspicious, with one found to have been lit from the side of the road near a rest stop.
Police have since installed arson aware signs along the Bruce Highway and throughout the region, urging people to report any suspicious activity to authorities.
Patrols during key times known to police will continue.
Anyone with information should phone Policelink on 131 444.