As summer begins, WA Police have a message for arsonists: You will never know if we are watching until it's too late.

Detectives are urging residents to be vigilant this bushfire season, from December 1 to March 31, and report suspicious people or vehicles in bushland areas.

Each fire season, there is an average of 1600 bushfire offences across WA.

Strike Force Vulcan, first introduced for the 2010-11 bushfire season, has already identified arsonists and is continuing to monitor and conduct patrols, as well as providing a rapid investigative response for deliberately lit fires across the metropolitan area.

Last bushfire season, with help from the community, police caught 29 people with 33 bushfire arson offences. 

Pictured above is a bushfire in Waroona in March 2014.

Most of the offenders were males aged between 10 to 17 years of age. Police are asking parents to talk to their children to reinforce that fire is extremely dangerous and often cannot be contained or controlled. People can be seriously injured or killed by fire and whole communities burnt to the ground.

Covert cameras and surveillance are two tools used to help catch arsonists.

Police warn that if you light a fire in bushland, you risk going to jail for life.

The strategy of Strike Force Vulcan is to investigate arson bushfires in WA through:

  • Identifying through intelligence bushfire arson "hot spots" in the Perth metropolitan area and surrounds
  • Manage "prolific priority" arson offenders
  • Use covert and overt surveillance of "hot spots"
  • Provide a timely and quality investigation of bushfire arson offences
  • Raise public awareness about bushfire arson through media campaigns and by communicating with members of the public.

The Strike Force Vulcan team, led by senior detectives from the WA Police arson squad, works with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Department Parks and Wildlife.

The team rely on information supplied by members of the public, DFES and DPaW.

Members of the community play a vital part in combating arson by being the eyes and ears for police in their local communities.

Every time an arsonist lights a fire they are putting the local community in danger, say police.

It doesn’t take much for a small fire to spread and put lives and property at risk. This includes putting the lives of emergency responders in danger, including many career and volunteer firefighters.

Police urge anyone with information to come forward and help protect the community.

Preparing your home and property for the bushfire season is also important.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has information on its website, including a comprehensive "Prepare. Act. Survive." guide and a Homeowner’s Bushfire Survival Manual.

  • In a life threatening emergency, including where smoke can be seen in bushland areas, phone 000.
  • To report suspicious activity, phone 131 444.
  • Anyone with information regarding bushfires and arsonists are urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Police say there are rewards on offer for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist.

For more information, visit the Are You Bushfire Ready? website.

© Picture: The West Australian