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Campers urged to take care with campfires


The Parks and Wildlife Service is urging campers to take extreme care with campfires in areas where they are permitted during periods of high fire danger.

PWS Fire Operations manager Adrian Pyrke said that escaped campfires are a real risk in the dry conditions currently being experienced in much of the State, particularly the East Coast.

"While campfires are one of the pleasures of the camping experience, it's important that people understand the risk they present in starting bushfires," Mr Pyrke said.

"We would remind campers of two key aspects of campfire safety; the campfire must be at least three metres away from overhanging branches, stumps, logs, trees, leaf litter and other flammable materials. Campfires should not be lit on peat soils or grassed sand dunes.

"The second one is that a fire should not be unattended unless it is completely extinguished.

"During times of hot and dry weather such as we are experiencing this week, campers are asked to consider whether or not they really need a campfire at all.

"There have been many incidents in which bushfires have resulted from unattended fires or fires that have been inadequately extinguished and then flared up and escaped when the wind has come up.

"The fire that destroyed many homes near Scamander and Four Mile Creek in 2006 started from an escaped campfire."

Mr Pyrke said that the PWS is taking the fire risk of the current conditions very seriously.

"We have a number of strategies in place that are aimed at lessening the current fire risk. Regular patrols of the popular camping areas are undertaken by staff to ensure campers are using campfires safely.

"In addition, our fire crew are pre-positioned in areas of high fire risk such as the St Helens and Coles Bay area so that they are able to respond as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.

"We are looking for the cooperation of the community during this time of high fire danger in Tasmania. Fires are a huge cost to the community and in many cases they are preventable."