As the state’s south west continues to experience an increased tourist population this holiday period, firefighters are urging travellers and communities not to become complacent around fire.
The region’s Fire Danger Rating will move to High with some warmer weather expected at the weekend from Friday, 8 January through to Sunday, 10 January.
CFA South West Deputy Chief Officer (DCO) Rohan Luke reminded members of the community to remain vigilant despite recent rain and cooler weather.
“Recent rainfall has led to increased fuel loads and as the warm weather starts to take effect, these grasslands will quickly begin to dry out and pose a high fire risk if one were to ignite,” he said.
“There are still a lot of tourists and school holiday travellers across the south west region and we are reminding them to take extreme care around campfires, barbecues and other fire-related activities.
“People should also be aware of their surroundings, especially as they travel to unfamiliar locations during the summer holiday period.
“Now is not the time to become complacent around fire.”
CFA reminded residents that typical warmer weather and windy conditions can still pose a grave grassfire risk, despite recent cooler conditions associated with La Niña.
DCO Luke said it is everyone’s responsibility to follow campfire safety rules and observe safe barbecue practices to help in preventing potential fire disaster.
“Fire restrictions now apply right across CFA’s South West region and it is illegal to light a campfire unless the win is less than 10km/h, which can be observed when leaves and small twigs are in constant motion,” he said.
“The fire must also be smaller than one square metre, lit in a properly-constructed fireplace and three metres clear of any flammable material.
“The fire must be observed at all times until it is full extinguished.”
Those planning on firing up the barbecue this summer must remember to check the gas connections before igniting.
“To check your barbecue, spray the hose and regulator connections with soapy water before starting it up,” DCO Luke said.
“Bubbles will form if gas is escaping. If you have any doubts about the connections, turn off the gas and replace the connection or contact a licensed gasfitter.”
Campers are urged to obey the following campfire regulations, if it’s not a Total Fire Ban day:
- Use a purpose-built fireplace where provided, otherwise light your campfire in a trench at least 30cm deep. Ensure the trench is no larger than one square metre in size and the area around the trench is cleared of flammable material up to three metres in all directions, including above the campfire.
- Branches and logs on your campfire must be less than one metre long – keep your fire just big enough for warmth and cooking.
- Never leave a campfire alight or unattended. You must maintain a 50-metre line of sight of the campfire at all times.
- An adult must be present at all times when the campfire is alight.
- Ensure your campfire is completely extinguished using water, not soil.
- Under the Forest Act 1958, on-the-spot fines of $496 can be issued to people breaching campfire safety rules. The maximum penalty for lighting a fire during a Total Fire Ban is $39,652, two years in jail or both.