Forest Fire Management Victoria crews found 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,’’ Mr Cleeland 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.’’
More than 45 unattended campfires were found in the Goulburn District near Mansfield, and at campsites along the Ovens and Murray rivers.
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, Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA firefighters attended a one-hectare 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,’’ Mr Cleeland said.
‘‘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 $15872 if the matter is prosecuted in court.’’
●If you see a campfire that doesn’t look right or is unattended, phone 136186, or 000 if you see a bushfire.