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FFMV photo supplied: an escaped campfire

campfire safety

campfire safety

FFMV photo supplied: an escaped campfire

Keep campfires safe in Gippsland these holidays

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

Gippsland’s Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Kelly Rash said: “We want to keep reducing the number of fires caused by neglected campfires. Our message to campers is clear - Don’t let your campfire become a bushfire this summer.”

“Last year we found 127 unattended or abandoned campfires in the region,” Ms Rash said.

“We want people to get out there and enjoy themselves but make campfire safety a priority for their trip. The key to this is understanding what they can and can’t do.

“About 10 per cent of all bushfires are caused by campfire negligence, and this is placing the community and firefighters at risk. It also potentially damages the environment, affects industry and recreational users of our public land and parks.

“Significant time, personnel and resources are used every time we respond to a fire. When campfires escape that could have been prevented by following a simple set of rules, it’s very frustrating.

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“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’re 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.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure they follow campfire safety rules, including when in National Parks.

“In National Parks, campfires may only be lit in fireplaces provided by the park. Check the regulations for the park you are in.”

Responsibilities include:

1. 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.
2. Branches and logs on your campfire must be less than one metre long – keep your fire just big enough for warmth and cooking.
3. Never leave a campfire alight or unattended. You must maintain a 50 metre line of sight of the campfire at all times.
4. An adult must be present at all times when the campfire is alight.
5. 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 on campfire safety visit https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/permits-and-regulations/fire-restrictions-and-regulations

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