Police have charged two teenagers over a fire that destroyed a home and tore through bushland at Peregian Beach in Queensland.
A 14-year-old Peregian Springs boy and a 15-year-old Coolum Beach girl were charged with endangering particular property by fire on Wednesday afternoon.
Police allege they were among a group of juveniles who gathered in bushland off Koel Circuit in Peregian Springs about 4.30pm on Monday, when a fire was deliberately lit.
The blaze quickly spread towards Peregian Beach, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate the area.
One home was completely destroyed in the fire, another was severely damaged and large portions of bushland were destroyed.
It took firefighters two days to contain the fire, with the emergency declaration for the area lifted on Wednesday afternoon.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes, however, spot fires continued to burn in the area.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) Inspector Chris White praised the work of firefighters, who remained in the area on Wednesday afternoon to dampen hot spots.
“We have some predicted wind speeds that may be a problem [on Friday and Saturday], but technically with the support we’re hitting this fire with at the moment, everything should be blackened out in that Peregian area,” he said.
The QFES told people to avoid walking in areas hit by the fire, warning of the possibility of hot spots under the sand that could still “cause significant damage”.
The charges came after police set up Taskforce Overcross to investigate the cause of 10 fires across the state.
— Rachel Mealey (@rachelmealey) September 11, 2019
Earlier on Wednesday, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said 11 people, some juveniles, were being dealt with by detectives.
“In some cases it’s just kids lighting fire for fun [and] that fire has gotten away and impacted very badly,” she said.
“[While] other kids got together and purposely lit fires, and in other cases there have been recidivous offenders around arson and police have dealt with them appropriately.”
Southern Region Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon said there was evidence to suggest the fire near Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt, that destroyed at least five homes over the weekend, may have been accidentally lit.