• Hannah Phillips

Don’t Let your Campfire Become a Bushfire this Summer

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) has launched a campaign to remind campers in the Mallee to follow the rules when it comes to campfire safety.

FFMV's Geoff Tyers said: “We want to reduce the number of fires caused by neglected campfires so our message to campers is Don’t let your campfire become a bushfire this summer. “We want people to get out there and enjoy themselves but make campfire safety a priority for their trip by knowing what they can and can’t do,” Mr Tyers said. “In the Mallee, we have had 49 bushfires caused by campfire negligence since the 1st of January 2017 and this is placing the community and firefighters at risk, as well as potentially damaging the environment and affecting industry and recreational users of our public land.” “It takes a lot of time, effort and personnel to respond to a fire, so when campfires escape and could have been prevented by following the rules, it’s very frustrating.” Parks Victoria Director Fire and Emergency, David Nugent, said: “In National Parks, campfires can only be lit in designated fireplaces, so if there are no designated fire places, then campfires are not permitted. “Our rangers regularly patrol parks, forests and reserves to ensure campers are doing the right thing and to educate visitors on campfire safety,” Mr Nugent said. “Before you head out, make sure you plan ahead and check the long-range weather forecast. If in doubt on a hot day, don't light your campfire. “We are asking people to be vigilant about campfire safety and if they see a campfire that doesn’t look right or is unattended to call 136 186 or 000 if they see a bushfire. “It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they follow the campfire safety rules."

  • Use a purpose-built fireplace where provided, otherwise light your campfire in a trench at least 30cm deep. Ensure the trench is no larger than one 1 square metre in size and the area around the trench is cleared of flammable material up to three metres in all directions, including above the campfire.

  • Branches and logs on your campfire must be less than one metre long – keep your fire just big enough for warmth and cooking.

  • Never leave a campfire alight or unattended. You must maintain a 50 metre line of sight of the campfire at all times.

  • An adult must be present at all times when the campfire is alight.

  • Ensure your campfire is completely extinguished using water not soil.

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.

For more information, visit ffm.vic.gov.au/permits-and-regulations/fire-restrictions-and-regulations.

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