Authorities have issued more warnings about the dangers of campfires during the summer season, saying more than 50 fires were started by unattended campfires over the holiday period.
The preventable bushfires included a two-acre scrub and grass fire along the Campaspe River at Elmore that was started by an unattended campfire overnight on Monday, a total fire ban day.
Department of Sustainability and Environment agency commander David Nugent said campfires were not allowed on total fire ban days and anyone caught lighting one was putting themselves and the community at risk.
“This type of behaviour is unacceptable and dangerous to the community,” Mr Nugent said.
“People need to make sure they put campfires out properly.
“Campfires can smoulder for weeks if they’re not extinguished properly and can then flare up on a hot, windy day.”
Mr Nugent said about 10 per cent of fires in Victoria’s parks and forests were started by campfires.
“That’s 10 per cent of bushfires that could have been prevented,” he said.
“On a day of total fire ban, no fires are permitted in the open air and even when there is not a total fire ban, campfires should never be left unattended and should be fully extinguished with water before leaving, until they are cool to touch.
“There are significant penalties for anyone leaving a campfire unattended or going on days of total fire ban.”
For information on burns and fires in Victoria and general fire safety advice, contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on freecall 1800 240 667.
Blaze arouses suspicion
Police have not been able to confirm the cause of a fire in Rushworth they believe was deliberately lit yesterday.
Emergency services were called to the fire at the Rushworth golf course about 11.50am.
Rushworth CFA third lieutenant Brendan Moylan said it took firefighters 30 to 45 minutes to put out the fire, which burned half an acre of grass and leaves at the fifth fairway.
“It looks like it started on the fairway and went into the bush, but we haven’t been able to confirm where it started,” he said.
Stanhope officer-in-charge Leading Senior Constable Bob Naismith visited the scene yesterday, but said the evidence was inconclusive.
“There are no suspects, no witnesses, and no accelerant,” he said.
“The cause is unknown. I don’t know if cause was natural, accidental or intentional.
“Luckily the CFA was able to get onto it very quickly,” he said. “It wasn’t a big fire but little fires become big fires.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Leading Senior Constable Naismith at Stanhope police station on 5857 2507.