Crews are home after deadly fight

COFFS HARBOUR and Dorrigo NPWS crews are among a 14-strong team who are back home after helping contain a deadly fire in Kumbatine National Park, west of Kempsey.

The fire cost the life of a Port Macquarie-based colleague, Bryce Laut.

Iluka and Grafton personnel also became involved in the aftermath of the accident in which Mr Laut was killed by a falling tree on October 26.

“Mr Laut died while he was fighting a fire believed to have been caused by arson,” NPWS regional manager Alan Jeffery said.

“Police are conducting inquiries and specialist investigators will examine the cause of the bushfire. A report will also be prepared for the information of the NSW Coroner's office.

“Unfortunately, and tragically in this case, the primary cause of fires in parks is arson.”

Police arson teams investigate suspicious bushfires and they've warned that firebugs will feel the full force of the law.

With the weather warming up, police are reminding those considering lighting bushfires of the hefty penalties in place for arson.

Under the Crimes Act (NSW) 1900 and Rural Fires Act (NSW) 1997, the maximum penalty for deliberately starting a fire is 14 years' jail.

During the 2007/2008 bushfire season, 18 adults and 55 juveniles were charged with a total of 92 offences.

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