Four Wheel Drive Victoria would like to remind everyone to keep your campfire eggs-tra safe this Easter holiday

Victorians are being urged to follow campfire rules in state forests this Easter long weekend, with authorities handing out fines

, not chocolate eggs, to those caught doing the wrong thing.

Visitor numbers to Victoria’s parks and forests are expected to jump as the school holidays and back-to-back Easter and Anzac Day long weekends coincide.

Campfires must be made in purpose-built fireplaces, trenches at least 30cm deep, or be surrounded by rocks or other non-flammable material to contain the fire. Branches and logs on a campfire must be less than one metre long.

All campers are responsible for keeping their campfires safe, including being watched at all times and are reminded to never leave their campfire unattended. It must be completely extinguished with water, not soil, before leaving, even if only for a short while.

Conservation Regulator and Forest Fire Management (FFMVic) Authorised Officers will be patrolling across the state to ensure everyone knows and follows campfire rules.

The Easter long weekend is one of the most popular times to camp on public land in Victoria and it’s been encouraging to see the number of unattended campfires across the state drop over the last 4 years from 205 in 2018 to 105 last Easter.

However, it only takes one stray ember to cause a destructive bushfire, which is why there are significant fines for those who leave campfires unattended.

Officers can issue on the spot fines of $545 to those who breach campfire rules, and a maximum penalty of up to $18,174 may apply if the matter is prosecuted in court, under the Forest Act 1958.

Unattended campfires should be reported to 136 186 with calls to 000 to report a bushfire.

For more information about rules in state forests, including campfires and vehicle use, visit https://www.vic.gov.au/rules-in-state-forests

Quote attributable to Acting Manager Regulatory Operations, Andrew Dean.

“Our officers will be visiting as many sites as possible, from rivers, to camping grounds and popular hiking trails, to ensure people are following regulations and obeying the rules whilst enjoying our forests.”

“An unattended campfire can become a bushfire in a matter of minutes. Even in the cooler Autumn climate, embers can spark and start a fire that spreads quickly in the bush, putting people and the environment at risk.

“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.”