Riverina State Forests added to the list of forests with Solid Fuel Fire Bans

Campfires and barbecues using wood, charcoal and other solid fuels will be banned in State Forests in the Riverina region from midnight Monday 2 October 2017 due to the risk of bushfires, with campers reminded to plan ahead, bring gas appliances for cooking and check fire danger ratings regularly.

Solid Fuel Fire Bans have been in place in most NSW State Forests since September and, from midnight on 2 October, will also apply in the Riverina region including the Koondrook, Perricoota and Campbell’s Island State Forests along the Murray River, and the Gillenbah, Buckingbong, Matong and Binya State Forests in the Murrumbidgee catchment, and smaller local cypress forests in these areas. The only exceptions to the bans are the State forests in the Snowy Mountains around Tumut and Tumbarumba.

Solid Fuel Fire Bans are independent of any bans declared by the Rural Fire Service and apply at all times until further notice.

Forestry Corporation of NSW's Senior Manager of Forest Stewardship, Kathy Lyons said gas stoves could be used for cooking, except on total fire ban days.

“Due to extremely dry conditions, we have banned all fires using solid fuels, such as wood or charcoal, including campfires and barbecues in all State forests, except pine forests around Tumut and Tumbarumba, until we get significant rain,” Ms Lyons said.

“Even if a campfire appears to be fully extinguished it can flare back up and, in dry conditions, it doesn’t take much to turn into a bushfire – in fact, escaped campfires have caused three bushfires in State forests this season alone – and this is a risk we just cannot take in these conditions.

“We are asking people who are planning to camp or picnic in a State forest over the long weekend, or after the long weekend in the Riverina, to bring gas appliances for cooking because they will not be able to light a campfire or barbecue.

“In the Riverina region, the campfire ban will remain in place at least until the end of fire season in March and it will remain in place in all other regions until further notice, so if you are planning to camp in a State forest over summer, please plan ahead and check our website for updates.

“While Solid Fuel Fire Bans apply every day, not just during total fire bans declared by the RFS, visitors should also be prepared for days when total fire bans are declared as all fires, including gas stoves, are prohibited on total fire ban days.”

Forestry Corporation has regularly declared Solid Fuel Fire Bans in State forests since 1990 to reduce the risk of bushfires. Failure to comply with Solid Fuel Fire Ban restrictions carries a maximum penalty of $2200.

Information about total fire bans is available from the Rural Fire Service.

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 9407 4265/ 0408 779 903