20 January 2024

Ban on solid-fuel fires lifted for some NSW South Coast forests

| Claire Sams
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Drone shot of people at a campsite

The solid-fuel fire bans had been in force for several months as the region faced a drier-than-normal winter. Photo: Forestry Corporation NSW.

A ban on campfires and barbecues that use solid fuels has been lifted from state forests on the NSW South Coast.

The ban was lifted on Monday (15 January) after the Forestry Corporation lifted its solid-fuel fire bans for the Batemans Bay and Eden areas.

When there is a high fire danger, campfires and barbecues that use solid fuels – such as wood and charcoal – can be banned in many state forests.

Gas appliances can be used, though not on days when a total fire ban is declared.

Batemans Bay Management Area team leader fire and operations Peter Carstairs said the decision to lift the bans on the South Coast followed more favourable weather in summer.

“We have decided to lift the solid-fuel fire bans due to recent large rain events and a decrease in fire risk,” he said.

“The recent rain has increased the soil moisture and fuel moisture content, which decreases the flammability of available fuels in the forests under normal conditions.

“The solid-fuel fire ban has been in place since September 19, 2023, due to the drier-than-normal winter we experienced and the outbreak of wildfires in spring.”

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Visitor experience manager Brendan Grimson said the lifting of the fire bans across the region would come as welcome news to campers.

“We do ask that people visiting state forests keep their fires in existing small fireplaces and refrain from lighting fires outside of those designated fireplaces, as we are still very much in the fire season,” he said.

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As of 15 January, various bans and restrictions remain in place for the southeast regions of the state.

For pine forests around Tumut and Tumbarumba, solid-fuel fires are banned in plantations; however, campfires are currently permitted in formal campsites on the Blowering Dam foreshore.

Solid-fuel fires remain banned in the native forests of the Riverina and the pine forests around Bombala, while in the Southern Highlands (Belanglo, Wingello and Penrose State Forest) there is a solid-fuel fire ban and no camping or fires allowed in the planted pine areas.

However, there are no bans for the native forests around Tumbarumba and the state forests of the Southern Tablelands.

Further information on solid-fuel fire bans can be found online, along with a list of current bans.

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