Previous Topic

Next Topic

Book Contents

Book Index

7.5.21 - Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire

Click here to obtain a Word version of this document.



  1. Intentionally or recklessly causing a bushfire is an offence under Crimes Act 1958 s201A.
  2. A number of related but discrete offences have also been created by s197 and the surrounding provisions. These are addressed separately in the following topics:


  3. The offence of intentionally or recklessly causing a bushfire has the following three elements:
    1. The accused caused a fire;
    2. The accused caused the fire intentionally or recklessly;
    3. The accused was reckless as to the spread of the fire to vegetation on property belonging to another
  4. The Crimes Act 1958 defines causing a fire as including:
  5. The special definition of intention that applies to offences in s197 does not apply to this offence. The words ‘intentionally or recklessly’ should therefore be given their conventional meaning.

    Recklessness as to the Spread of Fire

  6. The Act does not contain any affirmative definition of recklessness. It is likely that the conventional legal meaning of that word applies. The prosecution must prove that the accused foresaw the probability that the fire would spread to vegetation on property belonging to another. See Recklessness.
  7. However, the Act contains a partial negative definition of recklessness that exempts a person who engages in fire prevention or fire suppression activity in accordance with provisions made under an Act or Code of practice and who honestly believes that his or her conduct was justified in the circumstances (Crimes Act 1958 s201A(2), (3)).
  8. The spread of the fire, for the purpose of the third element, is defined as spread of the fire beyond the capacity of the person who caused the fire to extinguish it (Crimes Act 1958 s201A(4)).


Last updated: 19 October 2011

In This Section - Charge: Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire - Checklist: Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire

See Also

7.5 - Dishonesty and Property Offences

7.5.1 - Theft

7.5.2 - Robbery

7.5.3 - Armed Robbery

7.5.4 - Burglary

7.5.5 - Aggravated Burglary

7.5.6 – Home Invasion

7.5.7 – Aggravated Home Invasion

7.5.8 – Carjacking

7.5.9 – Aggravated Carjacking

7.5.10 - Handling Stolen Goods

7.5.11 - Recent Possession

7.5.12 - Obtaining Property By Deception

7.5.13 - Obtaining a Financial Advantage By Deception

7.5.14 - Making or Using a False Document

7.5.15 - Blackmail

7.5.16 - Criminal Damage

7.5.17 - Criminal Damage Intending to Endanger Life

7.5.18 - Criminal Damage With a View to Gain

7.5.19 - Arson

7.5.20 - Arson Causing Death