A group of young first-time campers were called out on Facebook by firefighters in Victoria, Australia, last week after lighting a fire in the middle of a forest without taking the proper precautions first.
“WHAT DO IDIOTS DO WHEN THEY GO CAMPING IN THE BUSH FOR THE FIRST TIME?” the post on the Woodend CFA Facebook page read. “Well, of course, you drive [into] the middle of a tinder dry forest and light a campfire that has [the] potential to start a seriously dangerous bush fire.”
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The Woodend Country Fire Authority (CFA) continued to slam the young men in the Facebook post, noting they were called to the Wombat Forest after getting a call from the fire tower alerting them to a smoke sighting.
“It was like trying to find a needle in a hay stack, until the campers were eventually discovered on a remote track,” the post read.
In the post, the firemen noted it is “Fire Danger period” and thus certain measures have to be taken.
“During the Fire Danger period you are allowed to have a fire for warmth and cooking AS LONG AS there is little wind, the fire is in a properly constructed fireplace or a pit at [least] 30cm deep, the fire is no more than 1 sq [meter] in size, an area 3 [meters] wide is cleared around the fire, someone is in attendance with means to extinguish the fire,” the post read.
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The campers reportedly had not followed any of the instructions.
“They had not cleared an area around the fire or dug a pit. They just lit the fire on the ground surrounded by dry fuels. They also just put many large logs several [meters] long onto the fire and let it spread along the logs,” the firemen wrote, also noting the young men only had about six small water bottles to put the fire out with.
Those on Facebook responded to the firemen’s angry post, both agreeing that the campers should have been more careful — but also chastising the firemen for their wording.
“They should have to pay a fine and cover the costs of the tankers who attended. Idiots,” one wrote.
“While I completely agree with the seriousness of these actions, I do think that the name-calling and shaming is not necessary,” another commented.
“I always believe in if you do something stupidly you should pay a cost for the rescue team!!!!” a Facebook user wrote.
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In a follow-up post on Facebook Monday, firemen apologized for their anger, but shared an update about the campers.
“This morning we received a call from a bush walker who was disgusted at what he discovered at the abandoned camp site. The Woodend CFA was so concerned at the description of severe littering that we drove out to inspect for ourselves,” the follow-up post read.
“The attached photos do not do justice to the scope and spread of the waste left behind. Not only an abandoned tent and chair, but inside the tent was stacked [with] even more rubbish. There are bags of rubbish spread far and wide and left dropped at the camp site.”
However, the Woodend CFA account said they managed to get a car registration when they went out the first time and have handed over the information to the police to follow-up with the “disrespectful” first-time campers.