More than 766,000 hectares of land in Victoria has been burnt out in East Gippsland, with dozens of properties lost and many remote communities left without power and phone coverage.
Police arrested and charged the 36-year-old man, who has no fixed address, on Punt Road in Johnsonville at about 6.45pm.
He was charged with recklessly causing a bushfire and drug-related offences and was due to appear at Bairnsdale Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
It comes as communities across East Gippsland have run out of basics like water and toilet paper, as frantic efforts to reach them continued on Thursday.
CFA fire captain Steve Warrington said some people remained “absolutely isolated” from help, days after fire first ripped through vast swaths of the state on New Year’s Eve.
Premier Daniel Andrews said authorities were prioritising delivering satellite phones, food and water into isolated communities.
He said Red Cross relief packages would be dropped into Cann River, which remained very difficult to access, on Thursday. These would include basics like food and water.
“I wouldn’t want any community to think they’re not a priority,” Mr Andrews said.
“Each community has a different set of circumstances with how the fire has affected them.”
Buchan resident Mick Roberts was confirmed to have died in the fires, and at least three other people remain missing.
Ten watch-and-act warnings are in place across the state and about 50 fires are still burning.
More than 1000 firefighters are working to try and contain the blazes before extreme conditions arrive again on the weekend.
The temperature is forecast to creep up in the region on Friday, before surging into the 40s on Saturday, when heat, hot winds and possible thunderstorms will increase the risk of new fires.
With AAP, Bianca Hall, Tate Papworth
Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.