Four men who appeared in a Snapchat video laughing as a fire burned in bushland near them are no longer being investigated after handing themselves in to New South Wales police.
The men – aged 18, 21 and two aged 20 – attended Liverpool police station on Wednesday after media reports showed video of the group laughing and filming on mobile phones as the fire burned around them.
Officers from Strike Force Carpi have been investigating a large bushfire that burned through 3000 hectares in south-west Sydney and threatened hundreds of homes in Barden Ridge, Menai, Wattle Grove and Voyager Point.
Investigators said the fire appeared to have been deliberately lit in Casula on the afternoon of April 14.
NSW Police confirmed they spoke with the men and discovered that the Snapchat video was created on the evening of April 16 on the fire ground near Barden Ridge.
“The men were released with no charges and have been disregarded from any further investigation,” a police spokeswoman said.
The vision was posted to Snapchat on Tuesday morning and quickly came to the attention of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) whose volunteers have been battling the large bushfire.
A spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service, Chris Garlick, said it was dangerous for anyone to be in the vicinity of an uncontained fire in bushland.
“They are placing themselves in danger and eventually the crews who are going out there to fight these fires.”
Bushfire now contained
About 200 firefighters worked on Tuesday at Holsworthy and Barden Ridge backburning and creating containment lines.
By 6:30pm, the Holsworthy bushfire was considered contained, Mr Garlick said.
“Over the next few days our crews have a lot of hard work ahead of them mopping up and extinguishing all the hotspots within the containment lines of this fire,” he said.
“As these days continue, we are expecting milder conditions which will ease that threat, but residents should monitor those conditions and take advice from firefighters on the ground and through our website.”
As a result of backburning operations, some smoke would continue to remain in the Sydney area, potentially even as far as the Blue Mountains.