Authorities angry after discovering a number of unattended camp fires in Victoria forests and camps last weekend.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning (DELWP) reported « 87 unattended or deserted fires » across the state.
The ministry’s Preservation Regulatory Office said 32 fires have been found in Gippsland, 28 in Hume District, 19 in Grampians and eight in the southwestern Barron District.. .
Officers delivered 68 notifications of violation, 50 verbal warnings and 19 official warnings over the past weekend for a host of violations, including camp fires and off-road driving.
A spokesperson for the ministry said that this was a massive increase in previous weekends and coincided with the new freedoms of Melbourne residents, in addition to continuing freedom for residents of Victoria after the lifting of restrictions on the Corona virus.. .
The spokesperson said that accredited officers « noticed or [spoke] to » more than 4,500 visitors in forests and camps last weekend..
Firefighters were furious after three uncontrolled fires escaped and began to spread in the Shepparton area last weekend..
“They lit this big fire in the green lawn completely surrounded by the green grass and let it run,” said Bruce Weiner, duty officer in the Goulburn District Forest Fire Department, of one fire..
“I think those people who left often don’t actually know that they caused a massive fire.
The chief of the country’s firefighting agency, Peter Bell, said that “approximately 12 to 15 fires [were] left after the end of last week” on the island of Olupna, on the Murray River near Kobram.
Mr. Bell said, « People are basically careless – they think they’ve considered it and haven’t brought it up. ».
« A fire like this could get away with a park area and cause great anxiety for volunteers and everyone.
Brian Hammer, DELWP director of conservation regulator in the Grampians, said things will only get worse.
“This comes on the heels of the sweeping fire ban day announced in Mallee on Sunday,” he said.
“So it is a timely reminder to the community that we are now in the summer and in the midst of a period of high fire risk.
“The more people there are in the state’s forests, the greater the risk of flashpoint fires.
“If you set a fire in the camp, you are legally responsible for ensuring its safety, not escaping and putting it out completely before leaving.
“We know that 10 percent of our wildfires are caused by carelessness in wildfires, so it is really important for people to follow the rules regarding safety from camp fires,” said Ms. Gavins..
Victoria Police launched Operation Protection this week and will focus on arson and reckless fires across the state.
Immediate fines of up to $ 496 can be issued to anyone who breaks safety rules on a campfire.
Starting a fire during a complete fire ban could result in a $ 39,652 fine, two years in prison, or both.
This service may include material from France Press (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN, and BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced..
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Victoria, Country Fire Authority
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