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Teenagers fined $886 for unattended campfire
Two Mildura teenagers were fined $443 each on Friday (12 December) for leaving a campfire unattended on Merbein Common on 2 December.
**DEPI Media Release**
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Compliance Officer Geoff Tyers said a member of the public reported the unattended campfire on 3 December with DEPI firefighters then attending the scene and extinguishing the fire.
"The firefighters found a wallet near the unattended campfire, which was very helpful in identifying the offenders," Mr Tyers said.
"After further investigations two teenagers were issued with fines of $443 each for contravening the Forest Act 1958.
"This was a particularly serious offence because it was high fire danger day and very windy.
"It only takes a small spark to start a bushfire in those conditions and the incident could have posed a major bushfire threat because it was very close to walking tracks and the Merbein township.
"Not only did they leave a campfire unattended but they also breached the Act by using firewood that was more than a metre long.
"Members of the public must understand it is their responsibility to know the campfire laws and to comply with them for the safety of the whole community.
"They should also make sure they never light a fire on a total fire ban day."
Under the Forest Act 1958, the maximum penalty for leaving an unattended fire is a $14,761.
To make sure your campfire is legal and avoid a large fine:
- Never light a campfire on a day of total fire ban.
- Use a constructed fireplace where provided. Otherwise, light it in a 30 cm trench to prevent embers flying out.
- Clear three metres of ground and airspace around your fire of flammable materials such as leaves and twigs.
- Keep your campfire just big enough for cooking and keeping warm – it mustn't be more than one square metre in dimension.
- Put your fire out properly with water not soil. Fires can still smoulder under soil. If a fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave.
- Most campfires escape when they are left unattended. Never, ever leave a fire unattended, even for a short while. You must be within line of sight and not more than 50 metres away from a campfire or barbeque
For more information about campfire safety and regulations visit depi.vic.gov.au