News

Warning after abandoned campfire found

By David Rak

Tallarook residents Anna and Luke Rogan are reminding people to be mindful when camping after a fire near their property.

Anna and Luke were walking with their two children on the Great Victorian Rail Trail near their property when they noticed smoke coming from the bank of the Goulburn River.

“We couldn’t see anyone around taking care of the fire, so it was a bit of a concern,” Luke said.

“I grabbed a shovel, axe, bucket and some protective clothing and went back down to the river to investigate.

“I found a campfire and a large fallen tree that was fully alight and uncontained. Standing chest-deep in the river it took me close to an hour to put out the flames.”

Luke said he was lucky the calm morning made the fire easier to extinguish.

“We were fortunate the weather was still cool and the bank fairly green, or the fire would have spread to our property and our neighbours’ very quickly.

“It looked like someone had tried to put it out before they left but hadn’t finished the job.

“It’s starting to get hot, so people need to be extra careful. Make sure you completely extinguish your fire and never leave it unattended.”

The warning comes as Emergency Management Victoria urged people to act now and begin summer season preparations.

From October 1 a permit is required to burn a windrow, stump, log or vegetation with a diameter greater than 75mm.

All open air burning requires notification to VicFire (1800 668 511) and fires are not to be lit on days of Total Fire Ban, smog alert days or during the CFA declared Fire Danger Period.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said many people don’t have a fire plan, but it was important to know what you will do in the event of a fire.

“Talk to your family and friends about what your trigger to leave is and where you will go to stay safe. It’s important to stay informed and to never rely on one source for emergency information,” he said.

“Preparing for summer is a shared responsibility, so now is the time for the community to think and take action about how they can keep themselves and their families safe over summer.”

In Victoria, you can get emergency information from several sources, including the VicEmergency app, emergency.vic.gov.au, tuning in to ABC radio or other emergency broadcasters including commercial and community radio stations or Sky TV, or phoning the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226 and following VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.

To obtain a permit to burn, fill out a permit form or call 5734 6200.

For more information, visit: mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/services/fire-and-other-emergencies/heat-and-fire/burning-off-and-fireworks