Why is the Conservation Regulator concentrating on campfires?

More people are using public land for camping in Victoria than ever before and at the same time Victoria is becoming warmer and drier. This increases the risk of bushfires, which has a devastating effect on communities and the state’s natural assets.  

Because of the increasing risk factors and the devastating consequences of bushfires, the Conservation Regulator has a strong focus on unauthorised and unsafe campfires.

How is the Conservation Regulator limiting the risks caused by campfires?

  • Providing clear information about campfire regulations and campfire safety.
  • Raising awareness of campfire regulations at customer centres, during patrols and through media campaigns
  • Analysing intelligence from reports of unsafe behaviours and high-risk times and locations.
  • Conducting surveillance and patrols in high-risk locations, during fire hazard days, and targeting high-risk behaviours
  • Initiating (and publicising) enforcement actions.

What are the rules and regulations relating to campfires in Victoria?

On State forest, National park or protected public land, there are a number of rules you need to follow before beginning, when building, while maintaining and once you have used your campfire:

Before you begin

  • Before lighting a campfire in a National park, check with Parks Victoria for any restrictions that apply within the specific park.
  • Before lighting a campfire in a state forest reserve read this information
  • It’s up to you to find out if a Total Fire Ban is in place. Visit the Vic Emergency website, check the Vic Emergency App, or call the Vic Emergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Building a campfire

  • In a State Forest, use a properly constructed fireplace or in a trench at least 30cm deep
  • In National and State parks, campfires may only be lit in the designated fireplaces provided
  • The campfire must not occupy an area exceeding 1 square metre in any direction
  • Branches and logs on your campfire must be less than 1 metre long.
  • Areas around trenches should be cleared of flammable material up to 3 metres in all directions.

Maintaining a campfire

  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • An adult must always be present when the campfire is alight.

When you have finished with your campfire

  • When you have stopped using your campfire you must extinguish it completely with water – not with soil.  
  • The ashes must be cool to your touch before you leave. 

Can I light a campfire on Code Red or Total Fire Ban days?

State forests and national parks will be closed on Code Red days.

You cannot ignite a campfire or allow a campfire to stay alight on days of Total Fire Ban. More details on banned activities can be found here on the CFA website.

What if I see a campfire that doesn’t look right?

If you see a campfire that doesn’t look right or is unattended, call the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186 or dial 000

What are the penalties for breaching campfire rules?

We can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $476 to anyone breaching campfire safety rules. A person can face a maximum penalty of $15,872 if the matter is prosecuted in Court under the Forest Act 1958.

What about campfires on private land?

In certain parts of Gippsland and north-east Victoria, if private land is within 1.5 kilometres of public land, campfire restrictions may be in force, but only during seasonal prohibited periods.

Seasonal prohibited periods apply during different times in different parts of the state.

When a seasonal prohibited period is declared, usually during the warmer months, the restrictions that we’ve described above for state forest, national park and protected public land also apply to private land within 1.5 kilometres of public land in specific areas.

Reviewed 19 July 2021

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