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Arsonists could soon face the toughest penalties in the country

Deborah Knight

Anyone caught starting a bushfire this summer could face up to 21 years in jail.

As fire crews brace for difficult conditions this bushfire season, the state government will introduce legislation to increase the maximum sentence for arsonists.

The maximum jail time for the state’s targeted bushfire offence will go from 14 years to 21 years.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman says the increased penalty should be in place by summer.

NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers has welcomed the news.

“Anything that provides a disincentive for people to go and do stupid things like light fires I think would be welcomed by the RFS.

“I think this also reflects the community attitudes to arsonists, they’re just not tolerated.

“The message to people is that your chances of being caught have never been higher than they are now.”

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The Rural Fire Service says a severe fire danger is expected in Sydney on Friday, with temperatures in the high 30s.

Deborah Knight