Everything you need to know about when and where to enjoy a campfire in SA’s national parks

Everything you need to know about when and where to enjoy a campfire in SA’s national parks

Love relax­ing around a camp­fire in a nation­al park but not sure when or where you can have one? Here’s the lowdown.

The onset of crisp, cold autumn nights has many campers keen to light a camp­fire dur­ing their next stay in a nation­al park. But how do you know when it is okay to light a small camp­fire, and when it isn’t?

Each year across South Aus­tralia a Fire Dan­ger Sea­son is set by the South Aus­tralian Coun­try Fire Ser­vice (CFS). Fire restric­tions in nation­al parks usu­al­ly start at the same time as the Fire Dan­ger Sea­son for that area, how­ev­er they won’t always fin­ish at the same time. This is to allow vis­i­tors in nation­al parks to have camp­fires over East­er in most years. There­fore camp­fires may be lit in some parks dur­ing autumn, as long as there are no Total Fire Ban days declared.

How do I know if and when I can have a camp­fire in a nation­al park?

It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that many nation­al parks don’t allow sol­id fuel fires (wood and char­coal) at any time of the year.

To check whether a camp­fire is allowed in the park you want to vis­it, find a park on the NPWS web­site and search on Camp­ing’ / Camp­fires (sea­son­al restric­tions apply)’. This will dis­play all parks that allow campfires.

Each park is unique so remem­ber to also check the full list of park fire restric­tions to see what rules apply to any NPWS nation­al park.

Don’t for­get that if a Total Fire Ban is declared, no fires of any kind are allowed, so it’s impor­tant to check the CFS web­site.

What oth­er rules are there for light­ing campfires?

So you’ve checked that you can have a camp­fire at your cho­sen park for the dates you’re going to be there. Now it’s time to brush up on the oth­er rules, because even when camp­fires are allowed in a nation­al park, strict con­di­tions apply to light­ing them.

Here are a few tips for you to fol­low while you’re vis­it­ing a nation­al park:

  • Bring your own fire­wood, as col­lect­ing fire­wood in nation­al parks is pro­hib­it­ed. Make sure the fire­wood is free from dirt and weeds, to avoid bring­ing pest species into the park. Read more about the rules for col­lect­ing fire­wood.
  • Con­sid­er the weath­er when light­ing a fire – make sure the fire stays where it should by not light­ing a fire on a hot and windy day.
  • All fires and bar­be­cues (includ­ing gas and liq­uid fuel) are not allowed on days declared by the CFS as Total Fire Ban. To find out whether a Total Fire Ban has been declared for the park you are vis­it­ing refer to the CFS web­site.
  • Camp­fires must be care­ful­ly man­aged once lit – they must be in des­ig­nat­ed areas and con­trolled until extin­guished. Make sure the area around and above the fire is clear to four metres and have a respon­si­ble per­son near the fire at all times with water or an appro­pri­ate extin­guish­er on hand. Read more in our sto­ry about safe­ly enjoy­ing a camp­fire.

How do Fire Dan­ger Sea­son dates get set?

As the bush­fire haz­ard leader for South Aus­tralia, CFS sets Fire Dan­ger Sea­son dates for each Fire Ban Dis­trict, with local bush­fire man­age­ment committees.

There are 9 com­mit­tees across South Aus­tralia: Ade­laide and Mount Lofty Ranges; Fleurieu Penin­su­la; Flinders, Mid North and Yorke Penin­su­la; Kan­ga­roo Island; Lime­stone Coast; Low­er Eyre Penin­su­la; Mur­ray Mallee; Out­back; and Upper Eyre Peninsula.

Each com­mit­tee includes local com­mu­ni­ties in deci­sion-mak­ing with Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice (NPWS) rep­re­sent­ed by its Region­al Fire Man­age­ment Officers.

The com­mit­tee gets togeth­er to con­sid­er the sea­son­al out­look, local con­di­tions, soil dry­ness, cur­ing, and how much har­vest has been com­plet­ed in their dis­trict – along with a num­ber of oth­er fac­tors. As these fac­tors vary year to year, Fire Dan­ger Sea­son dates can change from one year to the next.

After con­sid­er­ing all the vari­ables, bush­fire man­age­ment com­mit­tees rec­om­mend dates to the CFS Chief Offi­cer who declares and gazettes the final dates.

How do nation­al park fire restric­tion dates get set?

Around the same time as Fire Dan­ger Sea­son dates are declared, the NPWS fire man­age­ment team plans fire restric­tion dates for pub­lic land it manages.

A spread­sheet is avail­able for quick and easy search­es on fire restric­tions for every park.

Most­ly the start of fire restric­tions in nation­al parks align with the start of the Fire Dan­ger Sea­son in each Fire Ban Dis­trict, how­ev­er local fac­tors are tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion for each park and occa­sion­al­ly the dates differ.

Then there are parks that sit over 2 Fire Ban Dis­tricts, so NPWS makes a call with its dates, nor­mal­ly choos­ing the ear­li­est start date of the two districts.

Fire restric­tions in nation­al parks are usu­al­ly lift­ed just before the East­er long week­end. This means that although it may still be in the Fire Dan­ger Sea­son, camp­fires might be allowed in the park you’re vis­it­ing, as long as it isn’t a Total Fire Ban day.

This infor­ma­tion relates to nation­al parks land only. Restric­tions under the Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Act 2005 may remain on oth­er land. For fur­ther details vis­it the CFS web­site.

Now that you know how to find out when and where to have a camp­fire, get your shop­ping list out as you’ll want to add ingre­di­ents for these tasty camp­fire treats.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living