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180+ Arrested for Aussie Arson Accusations as Wildfires Kill 26 People and 500 Million Animals


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Astronomer Hugh Ross appeared on Tuesday afternoon's edition of CBN Newswatch to talk about the impact of these wildfires. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.  For a programming schedule, click here

Concerns are mounting in Australia that three of the devastating wildfires in the states of New South Wales and Victoria could soon merge, creating an epic "mega-blaze". But that's not even the most shocking concern facing Aussies at the moment.

Now there's news that the wildfires may have been caused intentionally. The Daily Mail reports that more than 180 people have been arrested on fire-related charges.

At least 24 of those people have been charged with arson, accused of deliberately starting the blazes that have killed 26 people and millions of animals. The arson possibility is causing some Aussie politicians to argue that those who blame climate change for the fires are just plain wrong.

Meanwhile, exhausted firefighters have gotten a brief reprieve thanks to some cooler weather, but the mega-blaze could still break out when the temperature heats up later in the week.

The damage estimates are already starting to come in as the death toll rises.

Andrew Colvin, head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, said, "Twenty-six lives have already been lost. We have unaccounted for people across Australia. Over 1,800 homes have been destroyed." 

The blazes have been burning for months, demolishing homes and wiping out entire towns. 

Resident Evelyn Lett said these wildfires are historic. "We moved to the area in 1951, the house was built in 1953, and we haven't ever seen a bushfire like this before. Not since we've been here."

So far, the fires have killed an estimated half a billion animals, and Australia's wildfire season is far from over. It usually lasts through March.

The devastating fires have destroyed decades of conservation work on Kangaroo Island where experts have worked to protect many endangered species. 

"Caring for all these animals is quite amazing," said Sam Mitchell, co-owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. "However, we are seeing a lot that are too far gone. We are seeing kangaroos and koalas with their hands burned off — they stand no chance. It's been quite emotional."

One resident posted a video on Instagram, revealing the overwhelming loss throughout the city of Adelaide.

A GoFundMe was organized to help with rescuing and caring for injured koalas in the Adelaide Hills. So far their efforts have raised $20,392, more than double the $10,000 goal.

The US Forest Service, The Bureau of Land Management and firefighters from across the USA have traveled to Australia to offer aid.
The fire-related arrests have been made across the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania for more than 200 bush-fire related offenses, according to The Epoch Times.

Dr. Paul Read, co-director of the National Centre for Research in Bushfire and Arson, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that nearly 85% of the bushfires were caused by humans.

"About 85 percent are related to human activity, 13 percent confirmed arson and 37 percent suspected arson," he said. "The remainder are usually due to reckless fire lighting or even just children playing with fire."

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