A GROUP of young locals is believed to be responsible for a series of deliberately lit fires that saw Katherine engulfed in smoke on Thursday.
Fourteen Katherine Fire Station firefighters and a Bushfires NT crew were out in force for more than five hours, after several fires were reported along the Victoria Highway, around the Low Level, and along Arndt Road and Zimin Drive to the High Level bridge.
Acting Station Officer Garry Branson said crews used back burning to contain a number of fires to protect assets.
“We held concerns the fires would jump in paddocks behind the houses on Zimin Drive, but there was no immediate threat for houses,” Mr Branson said.
Mr Branson said the fires were a timely reminder for people to maintain fire breaks around their properties to help with access for fire crews and to stop fires from travelling onto their land.
Katherine police Acting Superintendant Gavin Kennedy said residents of Northbank Caravan Park observed three male youth riding bikes along the bike path at around 2pm.
“Two were caucasian and one was part Aboriginal. One male was wearing an orange reflective shirt and trousers. Police would like to speak with these three youths.”
A/Supt Kennedy said a person who was found to be unlawfully lighting fires not related to legitimate fire management and hazard reduction activities risks 15 years imprisonment.
Anyone with information can ring police confidentially on Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or the police assistance line of 131 444.