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Arson allegations probed

INVESTIGATORS will look into allegations some of the fires in Gaeta were deliberately lit, it has been revealed.

The Gaeta blazes will be among thousands to be investigated by Queensland Fire and Rescue in the coming weeks, as the state starts to recover from a vicious few weeks of flames.

Rural fire service area director of rural operations Tony Johnstone said there were several accusations surrounding the cause of the Gaeta fires.

“There are a number of allegations which have been made,” he said.

“It was a significant fire so we will get the fires looked at and go from there.”

Acting assistant commissioner John Watson said while the fire was not yet being treated as suspicious, investigators would look into any allegations.

“If somebody has deliberately lit this fire, we will be looking into prosecution,” he said.

Investigators from as far as New South Wales will join forces with Queensland to investigate more than 4371 fires which have scorched the state since September 23.

“These investigators bring valuable experience and expertise,” Mr Watson said.

“We investigate all fires and we have had an average of 129 vegetation fires a day.”

More than 60 New South Wales and Brisbane firefighters were pulled out of the region this week.

“We are quite confident that the fire can now be kept within containment lines,” Mr Watson said.

Bundaberg Regional Council has partnered with the Bendigo and Adelaide banks to start the Queensland Bushfire Appeal for Gaeta fire victims.

Donations can be made by visiting any Bendigo Bank branch or on its website.

Fire bans remain in place until Monday.

Mr Watson said unless the region received significant rain before this date, bans were likely to be extended.

He reinforced the safety message: “We are asking the community to be really careful. Please don't light any fires.”

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