Don't take a gamble on campfires this long weekend

Victorians dusting off their camping gear and turning Melbourne Cup Day into a long weekend are being urged to take care if lighting campfires as weather conditions are creating higher bushfire risk than in recent years.

Wednesday, 1 November 2023 at 1:41 am
A lit campfire surrounded by rocks

Forest Fire Management Victoria, the Conservation Regulator, and Parks Victoria are asking campers heading out to state parks and forests to brush up on their campfire safety rules before they leave home to help protect communities and the environment. Public land visitors wanting to use a campfire should prepare before lighting one by:

  • learning how to build and maintain a safe campfire,
  • knowing the specific rules at their campsite,
  • checking weather conditions and Fire Danger Ratings, and
  • having quick access to at least 10 litres of water.

Whether Victorians are camping for the whole weekend or just visiting for the day, it’s also their responsibility to clean up after themselves. All rubbish must be collected and taken home; not dumped or burned.

Off-road drivers and riders must have a valid licence and vehicle registration and stick to open, formed roads. Seasonal road closures on public land are still in force this long weekend and it is a serious offence to use them while closed. Visitors should check for any road or track closures before they leave home:

Visitors can brush up on their camping and campfire skills through Parks Victoria’s step-by-step online guides and video series:

Authorised Officers from all 3 agencies will be patrolling over the long weekend targeting unsafe and unattended campfires, illegal off-road vehicle use, and littering. Anyone caught doing the wrong thing faces fines ranging between $192 and $46,154.

The community can help report any illegal behaviour on public land to 136 186. Bushfires should be reported to 000

For more information about rules in state forests, visit:

Escaped campfires can quickly turn into large bushfires, and with a forecast of warm, dry weather, this bushfire season, we cannot afford any mistakes. While Forest Fire Management Victoria and partner agencies are ready to respond to fires this bushfire season, Victorians can help reduce bushfire risk by fully extinguishing their campfires with water – if it’s cool to touch, it’s safe to leave.

Sam QuigleyActing Chief Fire Officer, Forest Fire Management Victoria

Our Forest and Wildlife Officers are looking forward to seeing people out in forests this long weekend, but please make sure you’ve brushed up on the campfire safety rules before setting off to help prevent bushfires and keep everyone safe.

Kate GavensChief Conservation Regulator

When you gather around the warmth of a campfire this long weekend, embrace your role as a responsible park visitor by vigilantly tending to the flame. Remember that your campfire should not exceed one square metre in size, at least three metres of the surrounding area must be clear, and an adult must always keep watch. Make use of the designated bays and barbecues provided in select national and state parks and help further safeguard the environment by leaving only footprints.

Chris MercierActing Senior Manager Enforcement and Regulatory Services, Parks Victoria