Authorities in Australia have charged a man in connection with one of the massive wildfires that have killed nearly 200 people.

The man was arrested Friday and charged in last week's fire near the town of Churchill in southern Victoria state that killed 21 people.  The suspect has been charged with arson causing death, intentionally lighting a fire, and possessing child pornography.

Police have not revealed the man's identity.  They said they have moved him to the state capital of Melbourne for his own safety.  A judge who heard the charges ordered the suspect to undergo a psychiatric examination.

He faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison if convicted.

The official death toll from scores of wildfires in southeastern Australia stands at 181, but authorities believe it could rise to as many as 300.  

Authorities have launched a massive investigation into the fires, believing that at least one or more of them were deliberately set.  One of the suspicious fires destroyed the town of Marysville, where police say as many as 100 people were killed.  

The fires destroyed more than 1,800 homes.   


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.