How to collect camping firewood without being a muppet

We’ve been having an amazing time exploring South Australia, and can’t wait to see more of this truly magic country.

However, I have a bit of a bug bear, and its been made really obvious in the Flinders Ranges, and other parts of South Australia; its firewood, and people doing blatantly dumb things in search of a bit of camping firewood.

Firewood for camping
Camping firewood can come from a number of different places, but not all are a good idea

Most people like to have a fire when they are allowed, especially if its cold, or if you are cooking something on it, but this doesn’t automatically give you the right to grab timber from anywhere you please.

I note that the national parks in South Australia actually forbid you from collecting firewood in the boundaries. Clearly this is ignored, because we saw huge evidence of chainsaws being used and branches being snapped off, but its not a bad policy.

No firewood collection in Victoria
There’s plenty of places that ban firewood collection, and for good reason

You don’t need a fire

Lets get the first thing straight; if there is no timber available without doing something stupid, it means you don’t have a fire.

It’s not going to kill you, and we often go nights without lighting one. Your desire to have a fire does not trump respect for the region you are in.

Camp fire and roast lamb
Fires aren’t a necessity, and if there’s no suitable wood, go without for the night

Cutting tree roots is for morons

In some of the Flinders Ranges areas, I saw more stupid fire collection than I care to think about. People are literally going up to the big gums that have huge exposed roots, and cutting sections off for timber.

Not only is the timber rubbish for a fire as its green, but you are removing a vein from the tree that it needs to survive.

When this continues to happen, the tree eventually dies (or if a drought comes and it can’t get enough water the same thing happens) and it will then drop limbs onto people who want to camp in the area.

You really have to be a total dropkick to cut the tree roots off any living tree, and we saw this on so many occasions through different parts of South Australia.

Tree roots at Parachilna
So many morons have hacked into living tree roods for timber at Parachilna Gorge

Take firewood from areas that are plentiful, and keep it

Its always interesting to try and find firewood in places that are heavily used.

Parachilna gorge is the perfect example of this; an amazing free camp that is used by thousands of people every year, and there’s almost zero firewood around, because everyone grabs everything that they can, and leaves nothing left.

Our method has always been to stop in areas that have plenty of timber, where you are allowed to take it from, and grab a few bits to last us for a couple of nights.

We cut it up, put it in the wood box on the back of the camper, or sometimes in the camper storage if we have limited room, and don’t have to worry about firewood in areas where you can’t collect it, or there’s nothing to collect.

Cooking at Beauchamp Falls Campground
Some places have plenty of timber, and you’re allowed to take it

Firewood is important for animals

There’s a huge number of animals and entire ecosystems that depend on timber on the floor. Every branch you break off is one that a bird in that area cannot use to sit on, and completely decimating the firewood supply in an area isn’t a good thing for the animals that need it.

Get a block splitter

For so many years, we’ve used an axe to split firewood, and one day I bought a block splitter from Bunnings, and its been a game changer. I literally cannot believe how much sweat and effort I put into splitting wood with an axe instead of a block splitter.

Be respectful getting camping firewood

Timber on the ground can be sensibly gathered, where you are allowed to, and used for fires. If you have to cut anything green, you’re doing the wrong thing. If you are removing bollards, or steps, or anything else timber that is man installed, you’re not doing the right thing.

Collect your camping firewood in a sensible way, or there will just be more restrictions going forward.

Firewood from a farm
Be thoughtful, and intelligent when taking camping firewood

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