A 51-year-old man has been charged with lighting an out-of-control fire in the NSW Northern Tablelands in order to protect a cannabis crop.
The fast-moving blaze at Guyra Rd in Ebor, northeast of Armidale, was burning across more than 2000ha on Friday afternoon as it spread towards the Ebor township.
The fire was reported to emergency services at about 10.30pm on Thursday.
The man was arrested just after 2pm on Friday in Ebor and charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless to its spread.
Police will allege in court the man lit the fire as an attempt at a backburn to protect a cannabis crop and made no attempt to control the blaze.
They also allege he hoped to benefit from government payments in the recovery after the fire.
He was refused bail to appear at Armidale Local Court on Saturday.