With the weather warming up, and the holiday season fast approaching, Forest Fire Management Victoria staff are preparing for an influx of happy campers.
While our region offers plenty of beautiful camping spots, authorities are urging people to make sure they are enjoying our landscape safely.
FFMVic Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Tony English said we want you to enjoy our parks and public land and there are things you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
"The first thing to do is remember to stay COVIDSafe. Please visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au for information on up-to-date information on how to stay COVIDSafe," he said.
"Check the weather at your destination before you leave home and consider rescheduling your visit if it coincides with stormy weather or times of high fire danger, Mr English said.
"Prepare for visitor limits and book before you leave home. When you arrive at your campsite, be aware of your surroundings and camp at least 20 metres from any stream, lake or reservoir.
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"Trees can drop limbs, or entire trees can fall, without warning so do not set up your tent or park your car under trees. Be careful when picnicking near or under trees also. Observe all warning signs and stay well away from trees that appear to be dead or have dead branches.
"Make sure you keep 1.5 metres away from other campers and campfires, the length of a sedan car is a good way to mark the distance.
"All native plants and animals are protected. Do not cut down or damage standing trees or vegetation and please don't feed wildlife.
"Always let someone know before you go. You can visit the Victoria Police website for a trip intention form in case of an emergency."
Mr English said it was also important to take all fire precautions seriously, especially after last year's horror bushfire season.
"Know the campfire safety rules before you head out and stick to them. In national and state parks, campfires and barbecues may only be lit in the designated fireplaces provided and you must bring your own firewood.
"Campers in state forests must build a trench at least 30 centimetres deep around campfires and can collect fallen wood less than a metre in length for their use.
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"All campfires must never be left unattended and need to be extinguished with water, not soil, as fires can still smoulder under soil. If a fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave," he said.
"It is illegal to light a campfire on a day of Total Fire Ban, when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult for firefighters to control. Before lighting a campfire, campers must check if a Total Fire Ban is in place, via:
Mr English also pleaded for campers to keep our national parks clean and pristine.
"Keep our state forests and national parks as beautiful as you find them by not littering. There are usually no bins, so ensure you take your rubbish home - whatever you bring in to the forest, you must take out," he said.
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.
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