A bushfire in the Blue Mountains National Park was sparked by a father and son who allegedly torched clandestine meth labs the day police were supposed to raid the multimillion-dollar operation.
NSW Drug Squad police charged Peter Martin, 55 and Jim Martin, 27, both of West Hoxton, on Sunday night after two laboratories deep in bushland 60 kilometres west of Camden were set on fire last Wednesday.
RAW VISION: Police raid 'torched meth lab'
Police have charged a father and son from West Hoxton for sparking a severe bush fire in the Blue Mountains when they allegedly torched their clandenstine meth lab.
Fire quickly spread through the Blue Mountains National Park and was only extinguished on Sunday night after six aircraft and dozens of Rural Fire Services volunteers fought the blaze.
More than 50 hectares of bushland was destroyed while numerous properties and lives were at risk as record temperatures caused havoc for emergency services last week.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter said police had been aware of the alleged illicit operation since late December but did not swoop on Tuesday due to fire conditions.
The alleged labs, camouflaged by bush materials, comprised of tarpaulins and a shed that was only accessible by foot.
“We had planned to raid the operation on Tuesday but there was a catastrophic fire warning and it was just not the right conditions,” he said.
Police are baffled as to how the pair became aware of the raid operation.
“We don't know what spooked them, we don't know what tipped them off to light the fire. Obviously they've become aware of our investigation but we are not sure how,” he said.
Mr Cotter said police will allege the pair had been manufacturing five kilograms of methamphetamine at a time for a number of years.
“Despite the fire we have collected a fair amount of evidence of drug manufacturing,” he said.
The father and son have been charged with commercial drug manufacture while the younger man has also charged with lighting the fire. They are set to face Sutherland Local Court on Monday.