ALL SAFE NOW: The remains of a large campfire on Red Hill Beach in the Dirawong Reserve at Evans Head.
ALL SAFE NOW: The remains of a large campfire on Red Hill Beach in the Dirawong Reserve at Evans Head. Elaine Saunders

Campfire nearly became bushfire at remote Evans Head beach

A LARGE campfire which was left unattended on a remote beach at Evans Head could have sparked a massive bushfire, according to the Dirawong Reserve Trust.

Secretary of the trust Elaine Saunders said it was only a "pure fluke" that the fire at Red Hill Beach was discovered by a member of the public about 7.30pm on Wednesday.

"He happened to come across the fire, which he said was about 2m across," she said.

"This fire had just been abandoned - it was still burning - and the beach is quite remote.

"The man scattered the wood and broke up the fire.

"I went and checked the next day to make sure the fire was completely out, and I could see by the charred remains that it had been quite a large fire.

"It's a real concern with the weather the way it is.

"It would have been so easy for a single spark to jump into the grasses on the dunes ... that fire could easily have set the whole Dirawong Reserve alight."

Ms Saunders said the reserve was a "magical and special place". The trust had worked hard to keep it in a pristine condition to protect endangered animals and plant communities.

It is also an important and sacred place for local Bundjalung people.

"Campfires can easily get out of hand. This is an ongoing problem. We want to get the message out there that lighting campfires in the Dirawong is wrong on so many levels," she said.

"It's very frustrating for us because we love this area and we want to look after it."

Ms Saunders said the chairman of the Dirawong Reserve Trust would be speaking with police about the incident.



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