Campfire safety a priority
AUTHORITIES are reminding the public about the importance of campfire safety.
Parks Victoria acting chief executive officer Chris Rose said while the organisation encouraged people to get outdoors and enjoy the weather, it’s critical people don’t leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is properly extinguished before leaving the area.
“Campfires that escape are a big problem in Victoria with about 10 per cent of all fires on public land started by escaped campfires,” he said.
“While having a campfire is part of the camping experience, we want people to do the right thing including extinguishing them properly using water, not soil, as fires can still smoulder under soil.
“If a fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave.
“It only takes one unattended campfire to go bush and it can quickly endanger lives, livelihood and property.
“Campers must make the effort to check the weather conditions to find out fire danger ratings and if it is a Total Fire Ban day.
“Being on holidays or away from home is no excuse for not being informed.
“Campfires are not allowed on a day of Total Fire Ban and it is the responsibility of everyone to comply with any declarations.
“Every year our firefighters are called out to fires started as a result of campfires and barbecues.
“While we want people to explore nature and enjoy themselves, authorities will be taking a zero tolerance approach to irresponsible behaviour.’’
To ensure your campfire is legal and to avoid a large fine:
Never light a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban.
Use a constructed fireplace where provided. Otherwise, light it in a 30cm trench to prevent embers flying out.
Clear three metres of ground and airspace around your fire of flammable materials such as leaves and twigs.
Keep your campfire just big enough for cooking and keeping warm – it mustn’t be more than one square metre in dimension.
Put your fire out properly with water not soil. Fires can still smoulder under soil. If a fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave.
Most campfires escape when they are left unattended. Never, ever leave a fire unattended, even for a short while. You must be within line of sight and not more than 50 metres away from a campfire or barbecue.
Under the Forest Act 1958, the maximum penalty for leaving a fire unattended is $15,167.
Information about fire danger ratings and Total Fire Ban declarations is available on the CFA website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.