Forest Fire Management Victoria crews located more than 100 unattended campfires across the north-east region during the Easter weekend.
Regional Agency commander Neale Cleeland said crews found and extinguished the unattended campfires at popular camping areas while undertaking patrols.
‘‘It’s incredibly disappointing to find such a large number of campfires unattended during one of the busiest times of the year,’’ he said.
‘‘It really is very careless behaviour. The message doesn’t appear to be getting through to some people within the community.
‘‘While fire conditions have moderated, much of the region continues to be extremely dry and campfires can easily spread, impacting on the local environment.’’
Mr Cleeland said a number of campers were issued with on-the-spot fines, while others would receive a formal warning in the mail.
On Sunday, April 8 Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA firefighters attended a one-hectare fire at Peechelba, near Wangaratta, which was started by an unattended campfire.
Firefighters quickly contained the fire, which caused damage to a number of large river red gum trees.
‘‘About 10 per cent of all bushfires are caused by campfire negligence. Unattended campfires can lead to significant environmental damage, and place local communities and firefighters at great risk. This includes partially extinguished fires with embers that are still hot.
‘‘Under the Forest Act 1958, on-the-spot fines of up to $476 can be issued for people breaching campfire safety rules and a person can face a maximum penalty of up to $15,872 if the matter is prosecuted in court.’’
If you see a campfire that doesn’t look right or is unattended, call 136 186 or call 000 if you see a bushfire.
For information on campfire safety, visit https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/permits-and-regulations/firerestrictions-and-regulations