A WIMMERA man will donate money to the Horsham Fire Brigade after lighting an illegal fire.
The man appeared in Horsham Magistrates' Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to lighting a fire on a total fire ban day.
The court heard the man was raking leaves on his Wimmera property on December 1.
He raked the leaf litter into a pile below a big elm tree and lit it.
Police and the fire brigade attended the scene.
The man admitted the lighting the fire, but said he didn't know it was a total fire ban day.
The man told the court that the pile of leaves was very small and it only burnt for about three minutes.
Magistrate Simon Zebrawski said the size of the fire was irrelevant because it shouldn't have been lit in the first place.
"When it comes to total fire ban days, ignorance is no excuse - particularly in rural areas," he said.
"It's not just about the risk of the fire spreading to your neighbours - people see smoke and call the fire brigade, who then have to fly out to your joint.
"The fire brigade has better things to do than put out your garden fires - it was a waste of their time."
Mr Zebrawski placed the man on a good behaviour bond for 12 months without conviction and ordered him to donate $300 to the Horsham Fire Brigade.
The Mail-Times chose to not name the man because he was not convicted.
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