Cam­pers ig­nore fire warn­ings

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria crews lo­cated more than 100 unat­tended camp­fires across the north-east re­gion dur­ing the Easter week­end.

Re­gional Agency com­man­der Neale Clee­land said crews found and ex­tin­guished the unat­tended camp­fires at popular camping ar­eas while un­der­tak­ing pa­trols.

‘‘It’s in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­point­ing to find such a large num­ber of camp­fires unat­tended dur­ing one of the busiest times of the year,’’ he said.

‘‘It re­ally is very care­less be­hav­iour. The mes­sage doesn’t ap­pear to be get­ting through to some peo­ple within the com­mu­nity.

‘‘While fire con­di­tions have mod­er­ated, much of the re­gion con­tin­ues to be ex­tremely dry and camp­fires can eas­ily spread, im­pact­ing on the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment.’’

Mr Clee­land said a num­ber of cam­pers were is­sued with on-the-spot fines, while oth­ers would re­ceive a for­mal warn­ing in the mail.

On Sun­day, April 8 For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria and CFA fire­fight­ers at­tended a one­hectare fire at Peechelba, near Wan­garatta, which was started by an unat­tended camp­fire.

Fire­fight­ers quickly con­tained the fire, which caused dam­age to a num­ber of large river red gum trees.

‘‘About 10 per cent of all bush­fires are caused by camp­fire neg­li­gence. Unat­tended camp­fires can lead to sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age, and place lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and fire­fight­ers at great risk. This in­cludes par­tially ex­tin­guished fires with em­bers that are still hot.

‘‘Un­der the For­est Act 1958, on-the-spot fines of up to $476 can be is­sued for peo­ple breach­ing camp­fire safety rules and a per­son can face a max­i­mum penalty of up to $15,872 if the mat­ter is pros­e­cuted in court.’’

If you see a camp­fire that doesn’t look right or is unat­tended, call 136 186 or call 000 if you see a bush­fire.

For in­for­ma­tion on camp­fire safety, visit­mits-and-reg­u­la­tions/fir­ere­stric­tions-and-reg­u­la­tions

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