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Media Release

Hot Australia Day weekend forecast prompts fire warning
Thursday 24 January 2013 – 10:00 AM

With hot weather forecast for the Australia Day long weekend the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is reminding people to be careful when barbecuing and camping. 
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast hot, dry and windy conditions for the Australia Day long weekend, with a maximum of 35C for Saturday 26 January.
DFES Deputy Commissioner Operations Lloyd Bailey said most barbecues were safe but on days of hot and windy weather barbecues that required solid fuel were a fire risk.
These types of barbecues are banned on days when a Total Fire Ban has been declared and should not be used when bad fire weather is forecast.
“When it comes to fire, it all comes down to common sense,” he said. “We don’t want you to put yourself or others in danger.
"The forecast for Australia Day is hot, dry and windy, so you should only use a gas barbecue for cooking if it has an enclosed flame or an electric barbecue which of course doesn’t have a flame.”
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said another step that people could take to improve safety when barbecuing outside during summer was to create a buffer zone.
“For the sake of safety, you should have a five metre buffer zone around your barbecue,” he said.
“In residential areas where there is not enough space to create a five metre buffer, clear the area around your barbecue to make it free from flammable material such as dry grass.”
On days when the Fire Danger Rating is Very High, Severe, Extreme or Catastrophic people cannot light any fires for the purpose of camping or cooking.
If a Total Fire Ban is declared it is prohibited to light a campfire or carry out any activity that causes or is likely to cause a fire in the open air.
Total Fire Bans also prohibit the use of barbecues or cookers that require solid fuel like wood or charcoal and outdoor wood fired pizza ovens or stoves.
Breaching a Total Fire Ban could result in a $25,000 fine or imprisonment.
For information on what you can and can’t do during a Total Fire Ban, Fire Danger Ratings and how to create a bushfire survival plan visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au.
A 24 hour Total Fire Ban Information Line is also available on 1800 709 355.
Media Contact: Media and Public Affairs, 9225 5955.


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