GRAPHIC: Child has surgery after stepping on hidden firepit
A POTTSVILLE child has undergone surgery on his feet after walking over a lit campfire which had been covered with sand.
Mother Katrina Middleton was walking along the bank of Cudgera Creek across from the Pottsville Beach Public School with her three-year-old son Ollie when his foot went straight through a hole into the red-hot embers of a burning firepit.
Ollie received significant injuries and has since undergone surgery on his feet.
In a community safety announcement on Facebook, family friend Anita Reilly warned members of the community to extinguish fires properly to ensure the same thing doesn't happen to other unsuspecting victims.
"The family have only been in Pottsville for a few weeks. It's heartbreaking for Ollie's parents and as a parent myself, incredibly infuriating," Ms Reilly said.
Ollie's mother Katrina thanked community members for their messages of support and said her son was recovering well after the incident.
"After his recent surgery the doctors have said his body is reacting well to the dressings applied, he has nice blood flow and should be able to keep all his toes which is great news," she said.
"Keeping positive through this tough time and am deeply grateful for your posts."
Banora Point Fire and Rescue firefighter Jamie Bowe said fires covered with sand could "retain heat in excess of 100 degrees more than eight hours after being covered".
"The best way to extinguish a campfire is by dousing it in water and pulling it apart with a shovel or rake hoe," he said.
"A campfire should not be buried as it can remain smouldering and reignite.
"The Tweed Shire Council does not permit the lighting of fires on council-controlled land, this includes beaches."
Mr Bowe said those who see a fire on council-controlled land should immediately call triple zero.