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Rethink your campfire this long weekend

Thursday, 7 March 2024 at 1:06 am
A small campfire with red and orange flames burns in a square concrete fire pit. Three people sit in chairs nearby.

With at least one campfire causing a bigger fire in Gippsland last week, public land fire authorities are urging those taking a bush break this long weekend to check conditions and think twice before lighting a campfire in our parks and forests to help prevent bushfires.

The Conservation Regulator, Forest Fire Management Victoria, and Parks Victoria are reminding campers to act responsibly and be fire-safe, as the combination of hot, dry weather and recreation time could be devastating for the environment and personal safety if left unchecked.

Last weekend, a two-hectare bushfire at Red Box Campground near the Wellington River was suspected to have started by an unattended campfire. Forest Fire Management Victoria responded promptly with three helicopters, rappel and ground crews and contained the fire by Sunday evening.

Since 1 January 2024, authorities have detected more than 170 unattended campfires in parks and forests across the state, and with Victoria recently experiencing some of its most dangerous fire days, any unwatched campfire has a significant risk of escaping and spreading rapidly out of control.

As Victoria’s bushfire season reaches its peak, it’s crucial that public land visitors prepare before lighting a campfire by knowing the campfire rules and checking fire danger ratings and restrictions.

It’s illegal to light or maintain a fire on a Total Fire Ban day and campers are responsible for being up to date with this information. Official weather forecasts and warnings can be found at and VicEmergency.

It’s also important for campers to build and maintain safe campfires by knowing where and what to use, and following campsite specific rules. Campfires should never be left unattended, and must be completely extinguished with water, not soil, and be cool to the touch before leaving, even for a short while.

Victorians are also reminded it’s their responsibility to clean up after themselves. All rubbish and personal items must be taken home; not dumped or burned.
Authorised Officers will be on patrol over the weekend targeting dangerous and illegal behaviour, such as unattended campfires, illegal off-road vehicle use, and littering. Anyone caught doing the wrong thing faces fines between $192 and $46,154.

The community can report unattended or unsafe campfires or littering on public land to 136 186. Bushfires should be reported to 000.

For more information about rules in state forests, including campfires and vehicle use, visit and to understand the rules in state and national parks, visit:

We want all campers to enjoy their time in our forests, but campfire negligence can cause devastating bushfires. It’s important Victorians take extra care with their campfires and barbeques this long weekend to keep themselves, the community, and the environment safe.

Cal HeppellRegional Manager Regulatory Operations Gippsland Region, Conservation Regulator Victoria

Unsafe campfires can have devastating consequences. Don’t put people and parks at risk – enjoy the outdoors responsibly this long weekend.

Mark BreguetSenior Manager Enforcement and Regulatory Services, Parks Victoria

I cannot stress this enough: campfires must never be lit on a day of a Total Fire Ban. It’s also really important to check the fire danger ratings and weather conditions for the days after any campfires that you intend to light.

Chris HardmanChief Fire Officer, Forest Fire Management Victoria