The Conservation Regulator is stepping up patrols in north east Victoria, targeting illegal campfires.

Conservation Regulator authorised officers, with Forest Fire Management Victoria, will patrol popular camping and recreation areas, such as Edi Cutting campground, Delatite Arm Reserve, campsites along the Big River and Buckland Valley. 

Officers will look for unsafe campfires to prevent bushfires being started by negligence and penalise people found in breach of campfire safety rules.

They will also remind visitors about campfire safety and encourage people to report suspicious or illegal activities, including unattended campfires, to 136 186.

The following campfire safety rules are always in force on public land:

  1. In State Forests, use a purpose-built fireplace if provided, otherwise use a trench at least 30 cm deep.
  2. Branches and logs on campfires must be less than one metre long and smaller than one cubic metre in total size.  
  3. Never leave a campfire alight or unattended.  
  4. Fully extinguish your campfire with water, not soil.  Cool to touch = cool to leave.
  5. All campfires are banned on Total Fire Ban days.   

Days of Total Fire Ban are declared to protect the community and our emergency services, and the Conservation Regulator has zero tolerance for serious breaches.  

The maximum penalty for lighting a fire during a Total Fire Ban is $39,652 or two years in jail or both, and on the spot fines of up to $496 can be issued for people breaching other campfire safety rules.   

In addition to campfire safely, remember to be COVIDSafe. This includes wearing a fitted face mask, practising physical distancing, ensuring proper hand hygiene including the use of hand sanitiser, and observing group size limits.  

Quotes attributable to Regulatory Operations Manager, Greg Chant:    

“All too often we see the consequences of people ignoring campfire safety rules, with approximately ten per cent of all bushfires caused by campfire negligence.”   

“It is a serious offence to leave a fire unattended, even for a short while, as most campfires escape when left unattended.”   

“If you light a campfire, you are legally responsible for ensuring it is safe, does not escape and is completely extinguished before you leave.”    

Brittany Evans |Acting Program Manager Media and Communications | Hume Region

Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning