Push for campfire safety this summer with bushfires caused by negligence

Forest Fire Management Victoria is urging campers to follow rules for campfire safety this summer, as winds and high temperatures forecast for the state on Saturday will increase bushfire risk.

A severe fire danger rating is in place for the central, north central and south west fire district including Ballarat on Saturday with temperatures expected to reach 39 degrees.

Forest Fire Management Victoria is urging campers to follow campfire safety rules this summer.

Forest Fire Management Victoria is urging campers to follow campfire safety rules this summer.

Campfire negligence has caused eight fires in the Grampians region since October, according to Grampians region chief fire officer Peter Kambouris.

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 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.

Mr Kambouris said the message for campers was “don’t let your campfire become a bushfire this summer”.

“We are keen for 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,”  he said.

“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.”

Campfires can only be lit in designated fire places in national parks.

Campfire safety rules dictate branches and logs on a campfire should be less than one metre long, a campfire should never be left unattended or alight, and it should be completely put out using water, not soil.

Parks Victoria director fire and emergency David Nugent said it was recommended to not light a campfire if in doubt on a hot day.

Parks Victoria rangers will be patrolling forests, parks and reserves to ensure campers are following rules. 

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

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