Camp fires spark warning

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Emergency Services came together last week to present a unified front and warn the public to be sensible this Christmas.
Camera IconEmergency Services came together last week to present a unified front and warn the public to be sensible this Christmas. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Emergency services have banded together to condemn illegal fire starters in the wake of three illegal camp fires in the region, one at Meelup Beach, one at Kilcarnup and one at Boranup.

Visitors to the region were advised to act responsibly amid a stronger police presence and an increased effort to ensure safety this holiday period.

Thousands of people have travelled to the region with tourism operators reporting a strong start to the summer season.

The first incident was reported to the Busselton City Council December 27 and the others on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Last week, hikers at Meelup Regional Park informed the Busselton City Council that visitors staying on a boat had lit an illegal fire in the park.

Those responsible for lighting the fire had walked off without properly extinguishing the flames.

In 2011, loose embers resulted in a bushfire near Prevelly which destroyed 30 homes.

Dunsborough Fire and Rescue Lieutenant Phil McCormack appealed to people to obey fire restrictions.

“No open fires, be sensible and don’t leave anything unattended, when in doubt just don’t do it,” he said.

Volunteer firefighter Naomi Dekker urged people to remind camp mates it’s bushfire season and to plan an escape route.

“This is one of the most beautiful areas in the world but it does come with risks, we have a lot of bush and a lot of dry vegetation,” she said.

Busselton police Senior Sergeant Jerry Samoa asked anyone who witnesses suspicious behaviour to call 000.

“It’s all about making the right choices,” he said. “The period usually involves a lot of alcohol, most people have been sensible but alcohol and leftover fire embers are not a good mix.”

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