Victorian summer camp fires feel wrong

Seasonal fire bans are something that we’ve grown up with, and the feeling of packing away your camp cooking gear as November rolls in is the norm for us.

This year, we were in South Australia and they too have a seasonal fire ban, which we fully expected. However, we just crossed over into Victoria, in late January and look up their fire restrictions, and are completely baffled.

In national parks, you are allowed to have camp fires any time of the year for ‘comfort’ or ‘cooking’ except on days when there’s a total fire ban, and I’ll be honest; I was so excited.

It’s been months since we’ve had the Camp Braai out, or the camp oven, and we love cooking on the fire if possible. 

The first night we stayed in at Fort O’hare, which was incredibly green and beautiful, and we smiled as others lit their fires and cooked their food. We didn’t have any firewood, but decided to get some the next day and cook a BBQ over the flames.

Views from camp at McLennans
Victoria has much looser fire restrictions than WA

The next night, we camped at McLennans Punt, and I arrived, excited to see a suitable fire pit in the middle of our camp fire, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit tentative, and anxious.

Surely a fire in summer can’t be a good idea? I was so concerned that I took our stainless bucket to the river and filled it up, ready to use if anything went awry.

I made sure the fire pit was well clear of anything that could burn, and actually removed a heap of dead grass and weeds in a fenced off area nearby as I was paranoid. With a bit of wind around, we had a fire and some truly delicious steaks, along with roast potatoes in the fire.

I put the fire out before bed with the water, and we moved camp to the beautiful, and highly under-rated Lake Mombeong.

Camping at Lake Mombeong
You can’t have fires in SA, but cross the border and you’re good to go!

This too, had a great fire pit, but it was windier, and I could see there was more of a chance of a fire getting away, and yet you’re allowed to do it. I did end up having a small fire to cook our chicken wings on, and again had the bucket of water there, and a clearing around.

Are camp fires in a Victorian Summer a good idea?

I’m going to assume here, that there aren’t too many bush fires caused by camping in Victoria, or surely they’d just shut it all down? Still, at the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder if the risk doesn’t justify the reward.

I know Victoria is cooler, and a lot of their bushland is green, but I reckon there’d still be some decent grass fires if things got going, and I’d hate to be the one responsible for that.

We’ve travelled the Kimberley and NT fairly extensively, and I’m comfortable with fires in the warmer weather up there, with less fuel available and yet something about having fires in Victoria in summer just doesn’t sit too well with me. Maybe I’ve been conditioned after so many years in WA?!

Kids around the fire
You want to be very careful with camp fires

Use your common sense

Please, don’t have a fire if its warm, and windy, regardless of what you’re allowed to do. The risk is simply not worth the reward.

What do you reckon? Are you comfortable having a camp fire in summer, in Victoria?

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