Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) officers were pleased to find most campers staying safe and following the campfire rules during patrols along the Murray River over the weekend.

FFMVic Senior Forest Fire Management Officer, Andy Koren, said authorised officers stopped at more than 60 campsites along the river between Walpolla, Mildura, Hattah and Robinvale.

“Most people were behaving responsibly and were aware that Saturday was a day of Total Fire Ban (TFB) and that campfires are not allowed on a TFB,” Mr Koren said.

“Several people had made alternative arrangements such as gas barbecues, generators or electrical cookers.

“However, it was disappointing to see that two campfires had been lit and the people responsible now risk being prosecuted.

“Patrolling campsites is an opportunity for our officers to chat with campers and other forest users to help them understand what they can and can’t do when it comes to campfires and enjoying the bush.

“We encourage people who are going camping this summer to be aware of the weather conditions and if TFB rules are in place.

“If you are travelling interstate, make sure you change your radio to the local station and change your settings on your VicEmergency app so you receive the correct information for the area you’re going to, not for the area you’re coming from.

“It was positive to see so many people doing the right thing and we hope people continue to be diligent when building, lighting and extinguishing their campfires.

“People are reminded that we are expecting very hot and dry conditions this summer with high fire danger across the district and a campfire can easily escape and cause a bushfire. Firefighters have responded to 48 alight and unattended campfires in the Mallee since 1 June this year.”

“Campfires are not allowed on a day of TFB and it is everyone’s responsibility to find out if a TFB is in place by checking or the VicEmergency app.”

If prosecuted, the maximum penalty for lighting a fire on a Total Fire Ban is $38,685 and/or 2 years imprisonment.

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