Grey nomads reminded of campfire responsibilities

Published: November 19, 2015
Bushfiore warning for grey nomads

The tragic death of four people – including three overseas travellers – in bushfires near Esperance yesterday has once again brought into terrible focus the dangers posed by out-of-control blazes in this harsh, dry continent.

With searing temperatures already being recorded around the country, experts are certain that this is going to be a long, frightening bushfire season. Grey nomads who enjoy travelling in remote bushfire-prone country are among those being reminded of their responsibilities.

The most critical of these responsibilities is that they are aware of – and respectful of – total fire bans and prohibited burning days. Travellers should always monitor radios and local media to keep themselves informed of their obligations and of any threats.

While the devastating fires around Esperance are believed to have been started by lightning strikes, the authorities in WA were warning visitors of their responsibilities long before the start of this bushfire season.

“Travellers are our biggest risk, because they camp and start campfires,” said Department of Fire and Emergency Services Goldfields regional superintendent, Trevor Tasker. “I’d say that in those regions, particularly east of here, 90% of our fires are caused by campers. Even though we’re putting signage out there, a lot of them don’t take notice of that, and you just can’t get through to some people.”

Department of Parks and Wildlife Goldfields regional manager Ian Kealley stressed to the ABC that travellers just had to display common sense in threatening conditions.

“You don’t want to get wrapped up in the massive fines, or risk being branded an arsonist for lighting a fire on the wrong day,” he said.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, maximum temperatures in October averaged 3.44 degrees above the long-run average, and almost all of southern Australia recorded its hottest October, driven higher by a big heatwave across the region.

Aware of the potential threat, authorities have been conducting numerous hazard reductrion operations across the country. For example, heavily overgrown bushland along the Eyre Highway has been a close focus of fire management and controlled burning over winter.

  • How bushfire-danger aware are you as you travel? Have you seen people lighting campfires in dangerous conditions? Comment below.


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6 years ago

Its not real hard – if its hot and windy don’t light a campfire. If there’s a sign at the campground saying no fires then don’t light one. If there’s a fire ban in place or there’s a high fire danger, don’t light a camp fire. What the blazes (pun intended) does anyone need a campfire for in this day and age when there are plenty of reasonably priced, safer alternatives?


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