Rescuers arrest man lighting fires in bush near Wollongong

Police responding to a paraglider trapped in a tree north of Wollongong yesterday, have arrested a man who allegedly started a fire in nearby bushland.

Officers attached to Wollongong Police District and the Police Rescue Squad had been deployed to rescue a 61-year-old man who had crashed into a tree in Tucker Avenue, Balgownie, about 2pm yesterday (Wednesday 13 November 2019).

As the rescue operation progressed, officers on scene smelled smoke about 5.30pm and went on foot to investigate, discovering the bushland nearby on fire.

Police will allege a 20-year-old man was seen fanning the flames and he was arrested.

Fire and Rescue NSW attended and extinguished the blaze within the hour; however, about 150 square metres of bushland had already been destroyed.

The man, from Balgownie, was taken to Wollongong Police Station where he has been charged with cause or set fire to the property.

The man has been granted strict conditional bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday 3 December 2019.

Police have seized the man’s mobile phone for forensic examination.

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