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Keep your campfire safe
As families prepare for their summer camping trips, a new video clip just released by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) tells campers about the best ways to ensure your campfire is safe.
DEPI's Land and Fire Regional Manager, Hume, Shaun Lawlor said: "Victoria is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world, but unfortunately about 10 per cent of our bushfires start from escaped campfires."
"Knowing how to properly light and maintain a campfire is vital to ensure it doesn't go bush."
"Campfires are not allowed on a day of Total Fire Ban and it is your responsibility to check if any declarations are in place before you light one."
Penalties for lighting fires illegally include large fines and possible imprisonment.
To be legal a campfire must:
- Only be lit when wind speed is not more than 10 km per hour;
- Be lit in a properly constructed fireplace or in a trench at least 30cm deep to prevent embers flying out;
- Be clear of flammable materials such as leaves and twigs for three metres of ground and airspace around your fire;
- Be no more than one square metre in dimension and should be kept to the minimum necessary to cook or keep warm;
- Have someone in attendance at all times who has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire if necessary. Never leave a fire unattended, even for a short while; and
Be completely extinguished before leaving. This should be done with water, not soil, as fires can still smoulder under soil. If a fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave.
"There are on-the-spot fines for people who fail to comply with campfire safety rules, and there are additional patrols planned this summer throughout the Hume region, especially on days of high fire danger," Mr Lawlor said.
"In the Hume region, there has been a total of 28 fires on public land so far this season with 22 occurring in the Goulburn district around Shepparton, Mooroopna and Nathalia.
"A number of these were due to unattended campfires or were deliberately lit. Victoria Police and the fire agencies have a zero-tolerance approach to malicious or negligent fires and known problem areas will be targeted more strongly than ever this summer."
*Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) media release