Three Kids Allegedly Started NSW Bushfire By Playing With Matches

Three children were playing with matches when a devastating bushfire took hold in northern NSW on Sunday, prompting police to call for kids to be better educated about the potential damage this can do.

The fire at Tenterfield tore through almost 300 hectares of land in the state's Northern Tablelands on Sunday, destroying a holiday cottage and killing cattle.

Police allege the fire started when three children, aged nine and 10, were playing with matches at a nearby property on the New England Highway about 11am.

The fire at Tenterfield burned out of control on Sunday. Image: NSW RFS.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews and several air units fought to contain the blaze that spread quickly due to high winds. Crews were able to contain it about eight hours later.

Officers have since spoken with the children, in the presence of a guardian, but no charges have been laid.

READ MORE: Emergency Warning Issued For Out-Of-Control Tenterfield Bushfire

Last month, police in Queensland charged two teenagers over a fire that forced thousands of residents to flee their homes on the Sunshine Coast.

Those teens allegedly deliberately lit the blaze in bushland before it quickly spread towards Peregian Beach.

Firefighters battle a bushfire in Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast. Image: AAP

Queensland was in the grips of an early-season bushfire emergency, with firefighters battling dozens of blazes across the state.  A police task force confirmed at least eight fires were lit -- either deliberately or recklessly -- by children.

Firefighters are bracing for extreme conditions to continue this season, with above-average temperatures expected this summer.

READ MORE: Children Have Lit At Least Eight Queensland Bushfires, Police Say

READ MORE: 'Extreme' The New Normal For Queensland Fire Season

The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) has also warned communities to prepare for hailstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding as the storm season approaches.

Detective Inspector Matthew Hemsworth said the latest fire incident in NSW is a timely reminder for parents to discuss fire safety with their kids.

“The consequences of kids playing with matches and lighters can be devastating; it puts people’s lives, property and livelihood at risk,” he said.

“Parents have a vital role to play in educating their children about fire safety to help ensure they don’t play with fire and potentially injure themselves or others.”

READ MORE: Yes, Climate Change Is Driving These 'Unprecedented' Fires