Never leave a campfire unattended - if it’s not cool to touch, it’s not cool to leave.
With tens of thousands of people expected to visit the north east region during holiday period, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) has launched its annual campaign reminding campers to be alert when it comes to campfire safety.
Hume Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Aaron Kennedy said: “Our message to all campers this summer is simple: never leave a campfire unattended - don’t let your campfire become a bushfire.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they follow the campfire safety rules.
“We want people to get out there and enjoy themselves but make campfire safety a priority for your trip by knowing what you can and can’t do.
“Across the region we have responded to 50 fires caused by campfire negligence since July and this is placing the community at risk.
“Escaped campfires have the potential to turn into bushfires that can impact life, property and the environment, and as well, can affect 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.
“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.”
People are asked to be vigilant about campfire safety and to call 000 if they see a campfire that doesn’t look right or is unattended.
Campfires must not be ignited or allowed to continue to stay alight on days of total fire ban.
In all other instances the following campfire regulations apply:
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 square metre in size and the area around the trench is cleared of flammable material up to three metres in all directions, including on top.
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. Maintain a 50-metre line of sight of the campfire.
4. An adult must always be present when the campfire is alight.
5. Ensure your campfire is completely extinguished using water not soil.
6. If it’s not cool to touch, it’s not cool to leave.
Under the Forest Act 1958, on the spot fines of up to $496 can be issued for people breaching campfire safety rules and a person can face a maximum penalty of up to $16,522 if the matter is prosecuted in court.
For more information on campfire safety visit https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/permits-andregulations/fire-restrictions-and-regulations or contact 136 186.