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Escaped campfire sparks bushfire in Sugarloaf

Media release: 27 January 2014

An unattended campfire resulted in a bushfire in the Sugarloaf State Conservation Area on Monday (27th January 2014).

Despite widespread park fire bans in national parks throughout the region, a campfire was illegally lit in Sugarloaf and left unattended.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Regional Manager, Geoff Luscombe said NPWS and RFS crews responded to a smoke sighting early on Monday morning.

“Luckily our quick response averted what could have been an extensive bush fire in the area.

“We placed fire bans in all national parks and reserves under our management due to the extensive dry period we have been experiencing and the high risk of bush fires.

“In the current circumstances the potential for campfires to cause bushfires, even if attended, is too great. It just takes one gust of wind and embers to be blown into grass and vegetation and we will have a bushfire that could cause threat to life and property.

“These park fire bans will remain in force until the threat of bush fire is significantly reduced. We need rain and lots of it before anything is likely to change,” Mr Luscombe said.

Park fire bans apply to all national parks, state conservation areas, regional parks and nature reserves managed by NPWS in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast areas.

The fire bans have been imposed due to the current very dry conditions and the forecast extended periods of hot dry weather ahead – in the interest of public safety and property protection.

A Park Fire Ban is not a Total Fire Ban as it only applies to places within the boundaries of national parks, nature reserves, regional parks and state conservation areas managed by the NPWS.

During a Park Fire Ban no fire may be lit in the open. This includes no lighting of campfires or any solid fuel (including wood, heat beads, charcoal, briquettes, hexamite) barbecues or stoves. You can use a gas barbecue / cooker under the following conditions only:
• It is under the direct control of an adult;
• The ground within 2 metres of the barbecue is cleared of all combustible materials; and
• There is an adequate supply of water (minimum of a bucket).
For more information about fire safety see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/safety/fire


Contact: Roger Bell

Page last updated: 28 January 2014