PATROLS will be conducted in state forests across the south-west in coming weeks as staff from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) encourage responsible behaviour.
District land and fire regional manager Peter Codd said patrols would mainly focus on campfire safety and camping regulations.
“We’ll be concentrating on fire safety, but also checking four-wheel-drives and trail bikes and looking out for rubbish dumping, illegal campfires and damage to our native vegetation, roads and state forest signs,” Mr Codd said.
“During patrols last year, we found that most campers were well behaved but it was still worrying that nearly half the campfires were unsafe.
“We gave a number of verbal warnings — many campers had not cleared the three metres around their fire and some campfires were larger than a square metre. Even worse, we found three unattended campfires.
“We hope that our patrols this year will help people understand how easy it is for a campfire to get out of control, and why they should extinguish their campfires before they leave the area.”
Mr Codd said the patrols were also a great way to engage, educate and inform forest users about the sustainable management of the local environment and resources.
“These patrols do everything from explaining safe and sustainable forest recreation to responding to public concerns,” he said.
“We want to get the message across that dumping of rubbish, unattended campfires and the irresponsible use of trail bikes and four-wheel-drive vehicles off-road, represent public safety risks that can cause environmental damage.”
“We also let people know how they can report environment, wildlife and forest crime.”
People can report environmental crime or suspicious activity that may be of interest to DSE by calling 136 186.