Firefighters call for campfire safety

FIREFIGHTERS across Tasmania are urging people to be aware of the potential dangers of campfires.

“One of the great things about living in Tasmania is that families can just pack up their camping gear, jump in the car and head off,” Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) chief officer Chris Arnol said.

“And campfires are an integral part of that getaway tradition. But it is important to remember a few basic rules when using them.”

Mr Arnol said campfires should never be left unattended and should be small and well contained.

“Never light a fire on a ‘Total Fire Ban’ day,” he said.

“It is your responsibility to check if any restrictions are in place before you light one.

“Obey all signs in national parks and other reserves that may restrict where campfires may be lit.

“Remember, campfires must always be extinguished with water.”

The key campfire safety message from the TFS is “soak it, stir it and soak it again.”

“Use water to make sure your fire is completely extinguished,” Mr Arnol said.

“Do not use soil. Fires can still smoulder under soil and can stay hot for more than eight hours.”

Mr Arnol said as Tasmania moved into the warmer months, campers should be encouraged to enjoy our beautiful state.

“But they should also be aware of their responsibilities,” he said.

“Do not let your campfire turn into a bushfire, as bushfires can lead to significant damage or loss of lives and property.”

Mr Arnol said bushfires were and would continue to be part of the Tasmanian landscape.

“The TFS continues to encourage residents in bushfire-prone areas to prepare their properties for the summer, as intense bushfires can strike with little warning,” he said.

“It is very important that residents are not complacent.

“If you live in or near bushland, you, your family and your home are at risk.”

Mr Arnol said it was essential for people staying or living in or near bushland to have a Bushfire Survival Plan, which detailed exactly how to prepare and what action to take if threatened by bushfire.

“Writing and practicing a bushfire survival plan will help you think through the actions logically, give you something to refer to and can help control fear and anxiety if a bushfire breaks out nearby,” he said.

“Your plan must take into consideration the ages and physical capabilities of everyone in your household, including children and the elderly.

“Once a Bushfire Survival Plan is in place, it is important for your family to know what action to take when a bushfire approaches.”

For more information and to download your Bushfire Survival Plan Booklet, visit www.fire.tas.gov.au or free call 1800 000 699.