News & Media

TFB breaches at Southern 80

Despite Saturday 9 February being a day of Total Fire Ban, emergency services found 19 people with illegal campfires at the Southern 80 ski race in Victoria’s north.

Those people will now face fines of up to $5,500 and/or possible imprisonment.

Total Fire Bans were declared in the North Central, North East and Northern Country weather districts for Saturday 9 February as of 12.01am through to 11.59pm, meaning no fires could be lit in the open air.

There was no TFB today (Sunday), but a further 18 infringement notices were issued to race-goers and campers for having over-sized camp fires (ie. larger than a metre) and not having adequate clearance around the campfire.

Loddon Mallee Regional Fire Controller Rob Price said emergency agencies were concerned at the number of people not heeding TFB rules.

“We had dangerous fire weather in the north of the state on Saturday and advised race-goers and campers about the TFB through media on Friday afternoon and by loud-speaker messages from the Southern 80 sweep-boat on Friday evening and Saturday morning,” he said.

“The message was to be aware of the Total Fire Bans and know what you can and can’t do to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe weekend. Unfortunately, a number of people broke the rules.”

Mr Price said camp fires are banned during TFB days, as well as solid-fuel and gas barbecues and ovens.

“Total Fire Bans are declared on days where fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control - it doesn’t take much for a fire to take hold and have potentially devastating consequences,” he said.

Parks Victoria rangers, Victoria Police and CFA increased patrols over the weekend to ensure campers were doing the right thing, and adhering to camp fire regulations in the dry conditions.

“When you are on holidays you’re often in a place which is unfamiliar to you and are generally more relaxed. That is not an excuse and you need to stay aware of the local conditions and any rules in place,” Mr Price said.

Stay informed through cfa.vic.gov.au, by listening to ABC Local radio and commercial and designated community radio stations, by using the FireReady app, calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (1800 240 667) or visiting an accredited visitor information centre.”

People can also find out what they can and can’t do on a day of Total Fire Ban or during the Fire Danger Period by visiting, http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can/. For more detailed information about campfire safety, visit www.dse.vic.gov.au

Last Updated: 11 February 2013