Mildura Weekly : Friday January 13 Vol 11 No 10
16 news MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2017 FOREST Fire Management Vic- toria (FFMV) partners, includ- ing Parks Victoria, this week made a desperate call for camp- ers to not leave campfires burn- ing this summer. Parks Victoria director Fire and Emergency, David Nu- gent, said that with around 10 percent of bushfires on public land caused by escaped camp- fires, visitors enjoying Victoria’s parks and forests needed to be responsible and extinguish fires properly. “Visitors and campers in our parks need to understand escaped campfires are danger- ous and can threaten lives and property,” he said. “Do the right thing and stay near your camp- fire, and always extinguish it with water before walking away. “Always use water to put out a campfire, not soil, as the fire can smoulder under the dirt and spread. “If an extinguished fire is cool to touch, it is safe to leave.” Mr Nugent said each year fire agencies devoted time and resources to fighting escaped campfires. “It doesn’t take much for sparks from a campfire to turn into major fires in hot and dry weather,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to never light a fire on a total fire ban or Code Red day. “Check the CFA website for total fire ban information. If you are unsure whether it’s a total fire ban day, don’t light the fire. “Being responsible with campfires is also good for the hip pocket, as under the For- ests Act 1958, infringement no- tices of $466 can be issued for leaving a campfire unattended, with a maximum penalty of up to $15,546 if the matter is dealt with by a court. “Parks Victoria staff issued more than 40 fire-related fines in the 2015/16 financial year.” Mr Nugent stressed that lighting a fire on a day of total fire ban, or allowing a fire to remain alight on a day of total fire ban, attracted even more se- vere penalties of up to $37,310, two years in jail – or both. “Campers shouldn’t leave a fire burning unattended at any time, but also need to be aware that if they leave the campfire burning overnight, and the next day is a total fire ban, then they have committed an additional offence and can receive greater penalties,” he said. “The message is clear – don’t leave a campfire burning. “We urge campers to do the right thing and check for total fire bans on the CFA website at cfa.vic.gov.au.” Parks Victoria’s guidelines for campfires include: • Lighting your fire in a properly constructed fireplace or in a trench at least 30cm deep, which must be less than one square metre in any direc- tion. • Branches and logs on a campfire must be less than one metre long. • Ensure the ground and airspace within a distance of three metres from the outer pe- rimeter and upper most point of the fire is clear of flammable material. • Never leave a campfire or barbecue unattended, even for a short time, and maintain a line of sight of less than 50 metres. • Make sure the fire is com- pletely extinguished with water before you leave, even if you’re only gone for a short time. If it’s cool to touch, it is safe to leave. • For all campfires, use only wood that has been provided or fallen dead wood. Don’t cut down trees or damage vegeta- tion. A PROGRAM to help com- munities tackle the impact of Ice through 220 local ac- tion teams over the next four years has been unveiled as part of the Federal Govern- ment’s National Ice Action Strategy. Local councils, schools, police, youth services, pri- mary health and treatment services, community groups, non-government organisa- tions (NGOs) and commu- nity members are eligible to be members of a Local Drug Action Team, with $19.2mil- lion provided to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (for- merly the Australian Drug Foundation) to administer the community-based ac- tion teams. The Local Drug Action Team initiative is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298million over four years to reduce the impact of drugs and alcohol. Applications for com- munities wishing to form a local team close on February 8. Development of com- munity-based teams fol- lows a call from the Federal Government’s National Ice Taskforce for more locally- tailored strategies to address local issues to strengthen prevention activities, and re- duce demand for drugs such as Ice. Local Drug Action Teams aim to provide a structure to unite communities so they can work together more ef- fectively, with another aim to drive community action to reduce demand for drugs such as Ice, and reduce the harm associated with alco- hol and other drugs more broadly. Ongoing opportunities will exist through 2017 and 2018 for communities who want to form teams, but miss out in the first applica- tion process. The first group of 40 lo- cal community teams will be determined by early 2017. Interested groups and individuals can learn more about the program online at www.adf.org.au/ldat. Alcohol and Drug Foun- dation chief executive of- ficer, John Rogerson, wel- comed the partnership. “Building community partnerships to develop locally-based and locally- delivered solutions is the key to reducing alcohol and drug-related harm,” he said. “These community teams will be on the ground in your neighbourhood playing a key role in imple- menting unique prevention programs that are tailored to their community’s issues. “They will also give much-needed support to those impacted by Ice, other illegal drugs and alcohol.” The Federal Government has also announced funding for expansion of a program run by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to tackle illegal drugs by providing educa- tion and awareness pro- grams through 1200 local sporting clubs. The new program is an extension of the Founda- tion’s successful grass roots Good Sports program, which encourages cultural change in behaviours and at- titudes to drug and alcohol use in sporting clubs. The program has so far helped more than 7000 clubs nationwide. Applications open for local community action teams to tackle Ice Murray Sunset National Park undergoes temporary closures SECTIONS of the Murray Sunset National Park will temporarily close at set times over the coming months for safety reasons while animal control programs are under way. Most closures will be from sunset to sunrise in limited areas, and are expected to have minimal impact on visitors. However, overnight camping at some sites may be affected for short periods. One of the functions of the Murray Sunset Na- tional Park is to protect important habitat, with controlling grazing pressure from animals such as rabbits, goats and kangaroos considered crucial to restoring habitat and improving overall landscape health. Parks Victoria Total Grazing Management co- ordinator, Brendan Rodgers, said areas of native flora that had been significantly depleted were slowly starting to show signs of recovery follow- ing previous control programs. He said other pro- grams also actively contributed towards habitat restoration. “These programs are part of more than two de- cades of work to restore the Mallee landscape. This follows a century of grazing, timber removal and the impact of introduced species such as goats and rabbits,” Mr Rodgers said. Parks Victoria is using skilled professionals to undertake operations, which will be planned and carried out under strict conditions to ensure safe, effective and humane practices at all times. Safety of staff and visitors is being regarded as paramount, with strict safety procedures being ad- hered to before and during operations. Details of closures in the park are available online at www.parks.vic.gov.au, just search Murray Sunset National Park. Don’t leave a campfire burning, urges Parks Victoria Mildura 155 Langtree Ave Ph: (03) 5022 2933 Ouyen Britt St (Hospital Site) Ph: (03) 5092 1121 Robinvale 160 Bromley Rd Ph: (03) 5026 3536 Berri 11 Crawford Tc e Ph: (08) 8582 2796 After Hours Emergency 0419 381 125 when available Tankard Dental welcomes SURGERY Arthur will visit Tankard Dental on a monthly basis. Please contact us on 5022 2933 to make an appointment Dr Arthur Drouganis - Periodontist & Implant Surgeon Dr Drouganis has over 32 years of experience. The first half of his career he practised as a general dentist and second half as a specialist in the fields of Periodontics and Dental Implantology.
Friday January 6 Vol 11 No 9
Friday January 20 Vol 11 No 11