With thousands of visitors expected to converge on the banks of the Murray River this weekend for the annual Southern 80 Ski Race, authorities are asking visitors to plan ahead to enjoy their trip.

FFMVic Regional Manager, Forest Fire Operations Loddon Mallee Region, Paul Bates said events like The Southern 80 attracts many visitors to the Murray River.

“We want people to enjoy our forests and parks, but we also want them to make campfire safety a priority by knowing what they can and can’t do.

“Before campers head out, they should plan ahead and check the long-range weather forecast. If in doubt on a hot day, don't light a campfire.

“We are urging people to be careful, especially when it comes to campfires, as gusty winds will easily carry embers from a campfire and into the bush.

“Any fires that start this weekend could spread quickly, so people should monitor the situation via the various information channels available.

Under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, lighting or allowing a fire to remain alight on a day of TFB can carry a fine of up to $39,652 and/or imprisonment of up to two years.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to follow campfire safety rules and check if any Total Fire Ban (TFB) declarations have been made.

“It is illegal to light a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban,” Mr Bates added.  

For more information on TFB days, campfire safety rules and regulations go to https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/permits-and-regulations/fire-restrictions-and-regulations

Stay up to date on weather conditions at:

  • VicEmergency and CFA - Facebook and Twitter
  • emergency.vic.gov.au  
  • ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or Sky News TV
  • Vic Emergency Line on free call 1800 226 226
  • Vic Emergency App

Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Leeza Wishart said rangers would be patrolling park areas throughout the event.

“Parks Victoria rangers and staff are preparing for the Southern 80 this weekend to ensure that visitors to the Murray River Reserve enjoy the race and stay safe. This includes ensuring all areas of the Murray River Reserve and open, clean and ready to welcome visitors, and planning for joint patrols with Victoria  and New South Wales Police.

“Rangers, in conjunction with Victoria Police, will be regularly patrolling park areas throughout the event to ensure visitors and campers are staying safe, enjoying the park and doing the right thing in relation to campfires, litter, behaviour and more.

“Please say hi to the friendly rangers out and about and feel free to ask questions. Remember, the area between Wharparilla Drive and Campaspe Esplanade will be open to pedestrians (but no vehicles). There is no camping at this location.

“It’s the middle of summer so if it’s hot or windy use common sense and don’t light a campfire. Remember if you do have a campfire, it must be fully extinguished with water, not soil, and must be cool to touch before being safe to leave.

“Please leave our beautiful parks the way you found them by taking your rubbish with you or deposit it at the temporary transfer station at O’Dwyer Road, Wharparilla, or at Echuca Environment Centre, 510 McKenzie Road, Echuca.

“Enjoy the event and remember to stay out of the water during the event,” Ms Wishart said.