A total fire ban in the Shark Bay region of WA has been in place since temperatures have soared over summer, but the Indigenous community has been burning fires on the beach for thousands of years.
After the implementation of the fire ban, it appeared that some members of the local community decided to light a New Year’s Eve bonfire on the beach anyway, much to the dismay of the local Police.
While it remains unclear whether or not the fire was deliberately lit, whether the fire was lit by the local Indigenous community, travelers or someone else in the community, WA Police decided to take to social media to call them out.
“Even though theres [sic] a full fire ban, the usual suspects in this community feel the law doesn't apply to them. It's hard to believe these same people are supposed to be representive [sic] of the environment. #stillnotlearning #fb#animals [sic]” the post read, punctuated by a skull and cross bones emoji.
The majority of comments made by concerned social media users indicated they thought the ‘animals’ hashtag was squarely aimed at the Shark Bay Indigenous community.
However the Shark Bay Police told NITV in a statement that they were referring to an environmental group with “no links to the Indigenous community”.
“The original post on Twitter by Shark Bay Police was targeted at a very specific group of people, known to be publicly associated with environmental matters, and with no links to the indigenous community,” the statement read.
“There are specific references to that group that they would be aware of. The beach bonfire occurs each New Year’s Eve, to the frustration of those local police.
“They are investigating the matter and wanted the local community to be aware of this issue. The Twitter feed is intended for the local Shark Bay community, and was carried across to the District Facebook page as a warning about total fire bans, as a responsible public awareness measure.
“It has since been removed from Facebook as the message was being misconstrued by a wider audience unaware of the local issues.”