Avoid campsite clangers this grand final long weekend

Wednesday 27 September, 2023

With warm spring weather and an extra day off drawing Melbournians out of the city this Grand Final long weekend, public land authorities are urging those visiting parks and forests to behave responsibly.

The Conservation Regulator and Parks Victoria are asking campers and adventurers to follow public land rules as the combination of heat, recreation time, and footy celebrations could have potentially devastating effects on the environment and personal safety if left unchecked.

Authorised Officers from both agencies will be patrolling over the long weekend targeting unsafe and unattended campfires, illegal off-road vehicle use, and littering, and will penalise anyone caught doing the wrong thing.

The warm, dry weather brought by an El Nino weather pattern has increased the bushfire risk and campers should prepare before lighting a campfire by:

  • learning how to build and maintain a safe campfire before leaving home and following campsite specific rules,
  • checking weather conditions and fire danger ratings,
  • and having quick access to at least three buckets of water.

Over the 2022 extended Grand Final long weekend, more than 30 unattended or illegal campfires were detected, and Authorised Officers handed out nearly 30 fines to people caught committing campfire, vehicle, or other public land offences.

Whether Victorians are camping for the whole weekend or just visiting for the day, it’s their responsibility to clean up after themselves. All rubbish must be collected and taken home; not dumped or burned.

Off-road drivers and riders must have a valid licence and vehicle registration and stick to open, formed roads. Many roads and tracks on public land are still seasonally closed to prevent damage during the wetter months and it is a serious offence to use them while closed.

Visitors should check for any road or track closures before they leave home: mapshare.vic.gov.au/mapsharevic/

Visitors can brush up on their camping and campfire skills through Parks Victoria’s step-by-step online guides and video series: parks.vic.gov.au/where-to-stay/camping-for-beginners

Anyone caught with an unsafe campfire, illegally driving off-road, or leaving rubbish behind can face fines ranging between $192 and $46,154. The community can help report any illegal behaviour on public land to 136 186. Bushfires should be reported to 000.

Quote attributable to Wayne Robins, Acting Chief Conservation Regulator:

“Whether you’re escaping the city to follow the footy action, or to switch-off, it’s critical for your safety and for the environment that you always have eyes on your campfire, drive only on open, formed roads, and you take your rubbish home with you.”

Quote attributable Chris Mercier, Manager Enforcement Operations, Parks Victoria:

“Enjoy the long weekend around the campfire but remember to keep it safe by using designated campfire or barbecue bays in national and state parks, because fire safety is everyone's responsibility."

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