Australian firefighter accused of deliberately starting bushfires 8 months ago

Australian firefighter accused of deliberately starting bushfires

Bushfires have been raging in Australia since September.

A volunteer firefighter in Australia has been charged with deliberately lighting blazes during the country's bushfire crisis.

Police arrested the 19-year-old for deliberately starting fires in an area south of Sydney, in New South Wales.

Almost 130 bush and grass fires are burning around the state of New South Wales, and there are fears among experts that the situation could get even worse when summer begins next month.

"Over the past few weeks, we've seen firefighters going above and beyond in difficult and dangerous conditions," said Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons on Wednesday.

"Our members will be rightly angry that the alleged actions of one individual can tarnish the reputation and hard work of so many."

Police said they had been investigating a spate of fires believed to have been deliberately started since the beginning of October.

Since September, more than 650 homes have been destroyed, six people have lost their lives and koalas have been declared functionally extinct as bushfires rage through the east coast of Australia.

The man arrested is not accused of any of the tragedies.

This week vets were forced to euthanise Lewis, a Koala who became a symbol of the devastation wreaked by the wildfires when a video emerged of a woman rescuing him in the charred Australian bush.