Forests NSW is urging campers and visitors to State forests in the Central West around Bathurst, Orange, Lithgow and Oberon to take great care with fire as forest fuel loads dry out and the risk of wildfire increases.
Forests NSW Protection coordinator, Trent Froud, said a Solid Fuel Fire Ban was now in force throughout the region’s State forests.
“We have had a delayed start to the fire season due to heavy rain falls, but now the forests are drying out and visitors to the forests can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to lighting a camp fire.
“The Solid Fuel Fire Ban restricts the use of open fires. Under the ban, all fires using solid fuels such as wood or charcoal are prohibited at all times.
“The pine plantations are a highly valuable resource and are particularly important to the regional economy.
“It is essential that every effort is made to reduce the chance of damage to the forests and surrounding communities by wildfire,” he said.
Mr Froud said banning solid fuel campfires in forest areas would not only help prevent the chance of a fire escaping and destroying valuable forests, it would also greatly improve safety for forest visitors.
“We are aware that a traditional camp fire is part of the experience that many forest users enjoy, but right now the risk of an escape from such a fire is just too great,” he said.
Mr Froud said Forests NSW was asking campers coming into the forests during the summer to bring gas appliances.
“Gas appliances are not affected by the Solid Fuel Fire Ban, but care should still be taken when using them in the forests,” he said.
The Solid Fuel Fire Ban in State forests applies every day throughout the summer and not just on days of declared Total Fire Ban.
Failure to comply with Solid Fuel Fire Ban restrictions carries a maximum penalty of $2200.