FIREFIGHTERS in Victoria and South Australia say complacency to fire danger could contribute to future disasters.Speaking about the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Ash Wednesday fires on February 16, recently retired Victorian CFA chairman Kerry Murphy said too many people expected a personalised warning.
"I don't think you can give that guarantee, that like a nanny state you can look after everything," he said.
Mr Murphy said despite major improvements in firefighting tactics and equipment in the past 30 years, there are limits on which fires could be fought, as highlighted in the tragic events of Black Saturday.
"Eventually, when the load is so extreme at one particular time, they just won't have the capacity to deal with it," he said.
"People need to help themselves and be aware. There are people who aren't aware of the danger as what they should be."
South Australian Country Fire Service deputy chief officer Andrew Lawson said he estimated about a third of people didn't appreciate or simply ignored fire warnings.
"They just don't hear us - just like there's a group who don't wear seatbelts or don't get the message about drink driving," he said.
Mr Lawson said the problem had only gotten worse since Ash Wednesday.
"Thirty years ago, people in rural and regional Australia were linked in to their environment - where they lived and where they holidayed," he said.
"Since then, some people have taken the luxury of switching off."