Illegal fire sparks blaze

March 09, 2018

The Bullatale fire. Photo courtesy Mathoura Rural Fire Service.

A campfire which was not properly extinguished in believed to have caused a fire in the Bullatale area which began Tuesday night.

Contained but still smouldering as the Pastoral Times went to print yesterday, the blaze tore through about 10 hectares of bushland in the Murray Valley National Park near the Millewa River Rd.

An unextinguished campfire is also the possible cause of a second smaller fire in the National Park’s Edward River camping ground area which was tackled by NPWS staff Wednesday morning.

NSW Rural Fire Service Mid Murray Zone manager Tony Whitehorn said both fires service as a timely reminder to all visitors and locals that the fire danger period is still in effect until after Easter.

He said as such, the lighting of solid fuel fires in public places is strictly prohibited.

‘‘People may have a campfire for warmth purposes only if they are on private property, and only if they have a two metre clearing around the fire.

‘‘There must a responsible person at the fire at all times, and it must not have any more fuel than what is required for the purpose.

‘‘The fire must also be completely extinguished before you leave the area.

‘‘It must be put out with water — just burying it and leaving it is not satisfactory.’’

Mr Whitehorn said hefty fines apply for anyone caught in breach of the Bush Fire Danger Period rules and regulations, and they have been issued in the local area in the past.

The Millewa River Rd fire was reported to Triple Zero at 6pm on Tuesday, with firefighters from the Bullatale and Mathoura Rural Fire Service brigades assisting NPWS staff to battle the blaze.

Mathoura firefighter Russell Perry said at the peak of the blaze, the flames were two metres high.

RFS firefighters were stood down about 9pm Tuesday night, with NPWS continuing to manage and monitor the fire.

The Edward River Camping Grounds blaze burned about 2ha.

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