The all-Australian pursuit of a few sausages over a campfire can carry deadly consequences says the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning.
As the mercury continues to rise ahead of one of the busiest camping weekends of the year, Forest Fire Management Victoria wants everyone to know exactly how to leave their fires after they are done with them.
“Going on the past a lot of the major bushfires we've had were a direct result of campfires that have not properly been extinguished,” Dale Malcolm from FFMV said.
“The biggest issue is the extent of what (a incorrectly extinguished campfire) can cause, some people don't think about what can happen.
“They think it's just a small fire now but in the space of of 20 hours it could burn through hundreds of thousands of hectares and kill hundreds of people a la Black Saturday.”
Last summer saw 34 campfire related blazes in Victoria. Alarmingly this summer has already seen 23 such incidents.
Fellow ranger Nick Day reiterated the consequesces that can come from not knowing how to put out a campfire.
“People don't realise that even a small campfire can sit and smolder for days - it might only take one gust of wind or one dry leaf to land on it for the blaze to take off,”
“It might not be a total fire ban but if the conditions are still hot with a bit of wind there’s potentially deadly consequences.”
When preparing a campfire, people must ensure fire pits have been dug at least 30 centimetres into the ground and be no bigger than one metre squared. Fires must be a minimum of three metres away from all other camping materials.
If you are caught breaking these regulations, you could face heavy financial penalties.
Read the exact regulations below:
“People don’t realise we can come by and issue on the spot fines if we see them doing something wrong,” Mr Malcolm said.
“In the end it just comes down to common sense, pour water over your fire, make sure it’s safe for everyone around you.”