Poor campfire knowledge fans fire fears

Monday 21 January, 2019

Parks Victoria rangers are concerned by survey findings that just over a quarter of people know how to correctly extinguish a campfire.

When presented with two options, only 26% of people correctly identified that water should be poured onto a campfire. The remaining 74% thought that a fire should be extinguished by covering it with soil or sand.

Campfires must always be fully extinguished with water, not soil, and must be cool to touch before being safe to leave.

“These survey findings are worrying, particularly given the number of people camping in Victoria during summer” says David Nugent, Director of Fire and Emergency Services.

Two Grandparents and a mother sit by the camp fire while a young child plays in the background.

Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world and experiences periods of high temperatures throughout the summer season.

With around 10% of bushfires caused by campfire negligence, Park Rangers have been out-and-about reminding people of fire regulations and to be aware of the very dry conditions.

In addition to assisting park visitors, Park Rangers perform an important role as firefighters, responding to bushfire situations throughout summer.

The survey also revealed half of respondents didn’t know where and when a campfire could be lit in a national park. In national parks, campfires may only be lit where designated fireplaces are provided. Fires are prohibited on days of Total Fire Ban.

“Once you light a campfire, you’re legally responsible for ensuring that it is safe, does not escape, and is completely extinguished before you leave,” David Nugent explains. “There’s plenty of information online to help people be fire aware. Now is the time to make sure you know what’s required.”

Information about campfires is available from the Forest Fire Management website. Before heading out to camp, people should also check the Parks Victoria website for any changes to park conditions.

For more information on campfire safety, read Parks Victoria's campfire safety checklist. For more safety advice, visit the Safety In Nature webpage.


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