27 Oct 2017

Three arrested in New Caledonia over fires

9:42 pm on 27 October 2017

Three men in New Caledonia suspected of illegally lighting huge bush fires have been remanded in custody until December.

firefighter with hose

Photo: 123RF

The three men, who are in their 20s, were arrested last week an appeared in court today.

Media reports said the defence secured an adjournment until December.

The trio is accused of setting three fires near Bangou in the area of Paita, initially burning about 10 hectares.

It is not known if that blaze was the trigger for a much larger fire which last week destroyed 16 square kilometres of vegetation, forcing evacuations of residents and closing the main highway north of Noumea.

The fire also affected operations at the international airport in Tontouta.

After a dry winter, a territory-wide fire ban was declared last month.