Bush Fires Deliberately Lit?

23 December 1865 Sydney Mail 

For the past four days large bush fires have raged in the neighbourhoods of Lacmalac, Group, and Tabletop.

That at Tabletop was a very large one, and extended down to George Dunn's fence, but as watch was kept no injury to his property was sustained.

We have heard that these fires have been lighted by the free selectors, for the purpose of driving off the sheep from the runs; in fact, Mr. Rash, with his 12,000, left Gocup this week.

If it be true that the bush was set on fire simply for selfish motives, we pronounce it a malicious act, for with the present dearth of herbage such incendiaries might, with as much justice, put a lighted match into a poor man's wheat stack.

These fires having swept off every blade of grass, horses and cattle now stray for feed, and should they happen to trespass on some piece of unburnt pasture that happens to be private property, as a matter of course they are instantly impounded.

Thus it will be seen that more evils than one attend the firing of the bush.

Tumut Times, December 14