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Maintaining vigilance with campfires


Parks and Wildlife Service staff have thanked the many campers who have heeded the restrictions placed on campfires and pot fires, but ask that park and reserve visitors continue to take care while the fire risk remains high in certain areas of the State.

The campfire and pot fire restrictions were brought in last week, due to the fire risk. The restrictions apply to all campgrounds from Mt William National Park along the East Coast to Orford, including Maria Island, and at Lime Bay in the South-east. These restrictions remain in place.

Parks and Wildlife Service State Fire manager, Paul Black, said the priority is community and visitor safety, and the restrictions on campfires and pot fires will help to prevent new fires starting from abandoned, escaped or poorly constructed campfires.

"Although the large fire at St Helens is now under control, conditions on the East Coast remain extremely dry, for example at Freycinet National Park, the rainfall this year has ranged between one-third to one-half of normal rainfall," Mr Black said.

"In conditions such as this, campfires can easily escape, spread rapidly and threaten those in nearby campgrounds and communities.

"While most campers understand the risk, staff patrolling since the restrictions were put in place have extinguished a total of 30 campfires in areas where restrictions were in place.

"The fire risk in these areas is not going to diminish until significant rainfall is received and until that time we ask those visiting our parks and reserves to heed these restrictions for their own safety and that of the community.

"It is worth noting that the consequences of campfire escapes can be severe in terms of the cost to communities and the environment. A fire that started as a result of an escaped campfire in the North-east near St Mary's in December 2006 burns 30,900 ha and destroyed 14 houses. An escaped campfire at Lake Repulse in similar dry conditions in 2013 burnt 10,238 ha."

Mr Black said the campfire and pot fire restrictions may be extended to other areas as the bushfire season progresses.

"With the Recreation Day public holiday on Monday 6 November, we're expecting a busy weekend in our campgrounds and we ask that park and reserve visitors work with our staff to ensure everyone has a safe camping experience."

Please note that use of fuel stoves is permitted while the campfire and pot fire restrictions are in place.