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Campfires and warm windy weather don’t mix

Wednesday 26 September, 2012

Visitors to Victoria’s national parks and state forests are being urged by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria to take extreme care with campfires.

DSE State Duty Officer Kendra Dean said spring is notorious for unpredictable weather so it’s important for people visiting Victoria’s parks and forests to take extra care whenever lighting a campfire. This will be particularly important with the hot and windy weather conditions expected in the coming days.

“I want to remind people that unattended campfires can easily spread in these types of conditions and start a bushfire,” Ms Dean said.

“Approximately 10 per cent of fires in Victoria’s parks and forests are started by campfire escapes so it is important that people keep informed of the current weather and fire conditions and also the forecast conditions in the days following their visit.”

“Campfires are not permitted in some areas of public land or may only be allowed in purpose-built fireplaces. I’d encourage people to check what restrictions are in place when planning their camping trip and to use a properly constructed fireplace where provided, or to use a fuel stove.

If there are no restrictions on campfires and in the absence of a fireplace, campfires should be lit in a 30 centimetre trench, with an area of three metre radius cleared of vegetation and other flammable materials.

Remember:

  • Campfires are prohibited on days of Total Fire Ban and are not permitted in most parks – if you are unsure of restrictions, do not light a campfire.
  • Take care on dry, windy days – if the wind is strong enough to carry sparks, don’t light a campfire.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep your campfire just big enough for cooking and keeping warm.
  • Put your fire out with water, not soil, even if you are going for a short walk or swim.
  • If your campfire is cool to touch it is safe to leave.

For information on burns and fires in Victoria and general fire safety advice, please contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Life (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667. Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment may call textphone/telewriter (TTY) on 1800 122 969.

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