24 charged, accused of ‘deliberately-lit’ bush fires in Australia; death toll reaches at least 25

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Firefighters drag a hose to battle a fire near Bendalong, Australia, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Navy ships plucked hundreds of people from beaches and tens of thousands were urged to flee before hot, windy weather worsens Australia’s devastating wildfires. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

SYDNEY (WBTW) – As bush fires continue to burn across Australia, 24 people have been charged and are accused of “deliberately -lit’ bush fires in Australia.

The New South Wales Police Force says since November 8, they’ve taken legal action against more than 180 people, including 40 juveniles, for bush fire-related offenses.

The police force says 24 people “have been charged over alleged deliberately-lit” bush fires, 53 people “have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban,” and 47 people “have had legal actions for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.”

The Associated Press reports 25 people have died so far in the fires and that nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed. The fires have burned an area about twice the size of Maryland.

The Insurance Council of Australia has said insurance claims have reached nearly 700 million Australian dollars, which is about $485 million U.S. dollars, according to the Associated Press.

A crews of 20 veteran firefighters based in California headed to Australia Monday to help battle the fires.

Actor and native Australian Chris Hemsworth previously announced he and his family would donate $1 million to help fight the fires.

Singer Pink previously said she is donating $500,000 to help fight the fires in Australia.

The Australian government has said they are committing an extra two billion Australian dollars (1.4 billion American dollars) toward recovery efforts in addition to the millions of dollars in funds already promised.

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