THREE people are in police custody in the Western Division and more will be taken to task if they are caught starting bush, cane or pine fires, says acting Commissioner Western Luke Moroivalu.
As a result of the fire crisis, a task force comprising police, military and Fiji Sugar Corporation field staff has been formed to patrol the cane belt and pine forests in the Western Division.
Mr Moroivalu warned those travelling on the road to refrain from throwing lit cigarette butts out of the windows of their vehicles as reports revealed the destruction of about 40,000 tonnes of cane and 110 hectares of pine through fires.
Members of the public are also being asked to refrain from lighting fires unnecessarily in, around or near cane fields and pine forests.
Cane farmers now have to seek permission from the commissioner western's office if they wish to burn their crop.
"We will also be doing awareness with cane-cutting gangs because we have been informed that they are responsible for starting the majority of these fires," he said.