Reckless ignorance

Local fire brigades were left in disbelief when they discovered a group of campers in the Wombat State Forest had lit a potentially disastrous campfire last Friday afternoon.
Woodend, Macedon and Mount Macedon Fire Brigades were called out to a smoke sighting about 4.13pm, spotted by the Mount Macedon fire tower.
Woodend captain Mike Dornau said they had four trucks and one four-wheel-drive and it took them about half an hour to find the campers in a remote location on Corner Track in the forest at Woodend.
“It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” Mr Dornau said.
“These first-time campers had driven into the middle of a tinder dry forest and lit a campfire that had potential to start a seriously dangerous bushfire.
“Just imagine the consequences if embers had floated into the adjacent bush?
“We wouldn’t have believed it if we hadn’t seen it!”
Mr Dornau said that during the Fire Danger Period people are allowed to have a fire for warmth and cooking as long as there is little wind, the fire is in a properly constructed fireplace or a pit at least 30cm deep, the fire is no more than one square metre in size, an area three metres wide is cleared around the fire and someone is in attendance with means to extinguish the fire.
“We discovered a group of young males who had not cleared an area around the fire or dug a pit,” Mr Dornau said.
“They just lit the fire on the ground surrounded by dry fuels.
“They also just put many large logs several metres long onto the fire and let it spread along the logs.
“Their intention was to build it into a nice bonfire during the night.
“While people were in attendance, their only means of extinguishing were half a dozen small bottles of water.” Woodend crews extinguished and cleared the fire as the campers were given a serious lesson and a suggestion to move to the nearby camping area at Firth Park.
The police were notified.

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