Authorities issue burns warning ahead of long weekend

Member News image Alfred burns surgeon Dane Holden, Alex and CFA second lieutenant at Diamond Creek Fiona Macken


Following a concerning spike in preventable burns injuries since December, burns specialists at The Alfred have joined forces with CFA to issue an urgent call for action: take care around fire this Australia Day long weekend.


The Victorian Adult Burns Service (VABS) at The Alfred, which treats the most severe burns injuries from across the state, saw a 42 per cent increase in admissions in December 2023, compared to December 2022. The patients – particularly young men – suffered serious burns caused by fire pits, campfires and barbecues.

Alex Tobin, 21, was camping near Lake Eildon just after Christmas last year when he fell into a campfire and sustained significant burns to 18 per cent of his body, the majority to his legs.

“I had a lot to drink and I put petrol on the campfire to start it up. I bumped into my mate behind me, and the jerry can poured petrol over my legs and they caught on fire,” he said.

“My mate grabbed me and dragged me to the lake until emergency services turned up.

“My message to others is just think twice, you don’t need to put petrol on a fire, what happened to me, could happen to anyone.”

Alex is off work for the next two months.

“This Australia Day long weekend, we know many people will be heading away camping, gathering with friends for a barbecue, or enjoying a campfire on a warm night,” said Alfred burns surgeon Dane Holden.

“We ask that those people behave safely around fire – the types of injuries we have seen recently cause scars that can last a lifetime, and require weeks and months of hospital care. Many of those injuries were entirely preventable. If you’re thinking about using accelerant on a fire – just don’t do it.”

In the last year, CFA responded to 186 incidents involving a campfire.

CFA second lieutenant at Diamond Creek Fiona Macken said Victorians needed to take care when using recreational fires ahead of the long weekend.

“We know how dangerous fire can be so it's important to be careful this long weekend if you’re gathered around a barbecue or campfire.

“Campfires can remain hot well after the flames have burnt down, so avoid walking on them and always extinguish them completely with water before leaving and never put an accelerant on them.

"Always do a safety check before igniting a barbecue and if you’re burnt it is critical to apply cool running water immediately.  You can find out more at

“I urge all Victorians to take care this weekend and stay safe.”


Submitted by CFA media