Sitting around a glowing campfire is one of the joys of camping, but with around ten per cent of bushfires caused by escaped campfires, it’s essential to follow the rules and do the right thing.
Not all parks or campgrounds allow campfires. Make sure you check the park signs in the campground before you light a campfire.
The park rules on campfires depend on the type of park:
- National and state parks: campfires can only be lit in the purpose-built fireplaces provided by the park.
- Other types of parks (eg. regional parks): campfires may be permitted, but you will need to check first, and make your campfire following these campfire rules.
Use this safety checklist before you light a campfire:
1. Are campfires allowed in your campground? Find out by checking campground signage or asking a park ranger. If you don't see a sign, play it safe and don't have a campfire.
2. What type of park is this? If you are in a national or state park, campfires can only be lit in the purpose-built fireplaces provided by the park.
3. Is it a Total Fire Ban day? Campfires must not be lit on a Total Fire Ban – or be allowed to burn through the night if the next day is a Total Fire Ban.
4. Who will stay with the campfire? A responsible adult must stay within 50 metres and be able to see the solid fuel campfire or barbeque at all times. Never leave a campfire unattended.
5. Do you have enough water to put the fire out completely? You will need at least 10 litres of water, which is about a standard-sized bucket filled to the brim.
6. Use water to put out a campfire. When you leave your campsite, always put the campfire out with water, not soil. The fire can smoulder under soil and start burning again later.
7. How do you know if your campfire is fully out? Once you put out your campfire with water, put your hand near the ashes and unburnt wood. Be careful not to touch hot coals! If the ashes are cool to touch, then it’s safe for you to leave the campfire. If the ashes are still warm, pour more water on the campfire until the ashes are cool.
It is an offence to light a campfire in parks or locations where they are not permitted. It is also an offence to light a campfire on a day of Total Fire Ban, or allow a campfire to burn through the night if the next day is a Total Fire Ban.
Follow these important campfire tips to have a safe and enjoyable visit.