Campfires banned in National Parks

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CAMPFIRE  restrictions have been introduced in National Parks and reserves in the Upper Derwent Valley as the fire risk continues to increase this summer.

Parks and Wildlife Service state fire manager Paul Black said campfire restrictions had been established this week in all National Parks and reserves in the North, North-east, East Coast, South-east, Upper Derwent Valley and King Island, effective from January 20 until March 14.

The restrictions ban the lighting or use by any person of campfires, fire pots or other devices that burn coal, wood, plant material or any solid fuel. Gas stoves are permitted.

“The fire risk has increased with ongoing dry conditions and poorly constructed, unattended and abandoned campfires are contributing to the fire risk,” Mr Black said. He said being aware of fire conditions and the restrictions in place was an important way to reduce the risk of bushfires to the community.

“PWS staff are continually patrolling campgrounds and unfortunately we do find people having fires during fire bans, as well as fires left unattended or not put out properly,” he said. “Already this year, we have recorded 22 unattended campfires in parks and reserves, with several confirmed campfire escapes. When temperatures rise and the wind increases, these campfires can reignite and cause dangerous bushfires.”

Mr Black said PWS staff would be actively patrolling popular campgrounds and areas where arsonists are known to operate. “Parks visitors should be aware that these restrictions will remain in force until 14 March 2018, after the Labour Day weekend, or until a very significant rain event, so campers should be prepared with appropriate cooking equipment.

“The PWS requests the assistance of the public in ensuring the safety of visitors to our reserves and nearby residents as community fire safety is a shared responsibility,” Mr Black said.

A map of the fire restrictions is available on the PWS website.

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