Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire

Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire is found in section 201A of the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was found to have lit a bushfire resulting in the fire getting out of control, or doing nothing to prevent it from spreading.

Have you been accused of Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire?

Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire
Police Interview

You should call us for advice before going in for a Police interview. If you are being interview by Police it is likely that they have passed the investigation stage and are preparing to charge you. Do you believe that the Police are simply engaged in a search for the truth? This is unfortunately not usually the case. The Police are trying to obtain the necessary evidence to charge you. Any admissions you make, however innocent they may seem to you, can be used against you in Court. You should seek advice from our lawyers before you make any comment to Police.

Pleading Not Guilty

Having the best possible lawyers conduct your trial could be the difference between an acquittal and a guilty verdict. This is a serious charge and you need expert legal representation to increase your prospects of being found not guilty. Our firm has the distinction of having in-house counsel, which means you can speak with your Trial counsel from your first meeting at our office and they will be engaged throughout the entire process. Not every allegation is true. Do not plead guilty to something you didn’t do. Call us for advice regarding your matter today.

Pleading Guilty

You may have admitted wrongdoing in the interview or the evidence against you is very strong. Our lawyers are experts in criminal law and several of them are accredited criminal law specialists. Our task is to resolve the case on the most appropriate charge, ensure the summary is fair and to make a plea in mitigation so that you receive the most favorable sentence possible. We will tell your story, both of your life and of your offending, so that the Court understands they are sentencing a human being on their worst day. We can help you get the best possible outcome.


Sentencing in the higher courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Intentionally or Recklessly Cause a Bushfire in the Higher Courts of Victoria Between 2017 and 2022

Examples of Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire
  • Friends are camping in the bush, they make a fire and the fire gets out of control.
  • A man deliberately sets fire to vegetation on his neighbours farm.
  • You did not light a bush fire.
  • The fire was lit legally during fire prevention or land management.
  • You lit the fire, but the circumstances were so extraordinary that you were not reckless.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you light a fire that got out of control?
  • Was someone else supervising the fire?
Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire (s201A of the Crimes Act 1958) is level 4 imprisonment (15 years).

This charge may be heard in the Magistrates’ Court or the County Court.


The section that covers this offence is section 201A of the Crimes Act 1958.

What is the legal definition of Intentionally or Recklessly Causing a Bushfire?

The Prosecution must show that you intentionally or recklessly caused a bushfire, and were reckless as to the spread of the fire.

“Did you cause a bushfire?”