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||16-Sep-2005 At 1:49:09 PM
|Burning toilet paper lands camper in the poo
By Stephen Moynihan
Magistrates Court Reporter
September 16, 2005
WHEN the call of nature caught Tanya Lange on bush camping trips, she used to bury the evidence in the ground.
But this summer, Lange decided to burn the soiled toilet paper instead. The smouldering heap soon became a bushfire that blazed for two days.
The simple mistake burnt 100 hectares of state forest and a $14,400 hole in Lange's pocket.
Yesterday, she appeared in the St Arnaud Magistrates Court where she was convicted and fined $5000 after pleading guilty to one charge of lighting a fire in the open air without authority.
Magistrate Bernard Coburn also ordered Lange to pay $9400 in compensation to the Department of Sustainability and Environment to cover the cost of putting out the fire.
Aircraft and several fire trucks and more than 30 department personnel and 50 CFA firefighters were involved in controlling the blaze at Mount Korong, about 220 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. The court heard Lange, 47, of Mount Eliza, had camped at the same site several times over two years.
It was her usual practice to dig a hole, bury the toilet paper and then cover it with soil. But for some reason Lange — on January 2 this year — decided to burn it. Once the paper set fire to the scrub, Lange and her partner tried frantically to stop the blaze. It was too late. Lange and her partner then fled and called 000.
The court heard Lange had since inquired about becoming a volunteer CFA firefighter.
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