Australia's Queensland state police are investigating the causes of raging forest fires, while urging people to flee their homes in the country’s east side.
Three young suspects are being questioned in connection with the blazes: a 12-year old boy and two teenage girls. What seemed like a fun game could cost Australia millions in damages if the fire is not contained in the next few hours, Reuters has reported.
Strong winds helped spread 140 bushfires in northern parts of Queensland and neighbouring New South Wales as fires raved thousands of hectares in the country this week.
The teenage suspects are being investigated over what seems to be a deliberate act of destruction after the groups of youngsters were found by police in the bushes in remote areas in the north of Queensland.
The 12-year-old boy was processed through the state's juvenile legal system, which meant he was released with a caution, a police spokeswoman told Reuters.
"Some of the fires have involved children playing and obviously the consequences are dire as a result of that and ... some of them have been purposeful and malicious," Queensland Police Commissioner Katrina Carroll said.
"People can die. Buildings and residences are being destroyed," she added.
The number of evacuated people has reached to 400 in evacuation centres, according to acting Queensland premier Jackie Trad.
"Apart from Sunshine Coast, we are still seeing fires right throughout the state," she said.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said winds would intensify throughout the day on Tuesday September 10th, but fire threats should abate on Wednesday.
Last year, fire ploughed through more than 2,400 acres and destroyed more than 70 homes in New South Wales, reaching Tathra, a small coastal town about six hours from Sydney.