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Camp fires, fuel stoves and barbecues

Sitting around a camp fire is an enjoyable part of the camping experience. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Sitting around a camp fire is an enjoyable part of the camping experience. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

For many people, camp fires, and camp-fire cooking, are a traditional part of the camping experience. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) provides opportunities to camp with a camp fire in some areas, while also encouraging the use of alternatives such as portable fuel stoves and on-site barbecues—which are provided at many camping areas.

Camp fires

Never leave camp fires unattended. Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Never leave camp fires unattended. Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Few simple pleasures equal sitting by a camp fire—basking in the warmth, toasting marshmallows and telling stories. There are many parks and forests throughout Queensland where you can camp and have a camp fire, see Where can I have a camp fire? below.

Where camp fires are allowed, use the fireplaces and fire rings provided. Firewood is rarely supplied so bring your own clean-milled firewood, such as untreated mill cut-offs. Never collect firewood or kindling from the park—everything, including dead branches, are protected by law.

For your safety and the safety of other visitors please follow the advice below.

  • Do not light or maintain a camp fire during a QPWS-imposed fire prohibition or total fire ban.
  • To reduce fire risks, always check the weather conditions in your camping area before lighting a fire. Do not light or maintain a camp fire on dry, windy days.
  • Ensure your camp fire is at least 3 metres away from tents and that other camping equipment is stored well away, especially flammable items.
  • Completely extinguish all fires (PDF, 493K) before going to bed or leaving your camp site unattended—use water, not sand, which retains heat and can cause severe burns. Even a few glowing embers can start a wildfire.

For more information about camp fire safety see the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service website.

Where can I have a camp fire?

Find out which parks and forests in each region allow camp fires:
Statewide | Around Brisbane | Around Townsville | Cape York Peninsula | Central Coast | Central Highlands | Mackay/Proserpine | North Queensland | Outback Queensland | Sunshine Coast | West of Brisbane

Fuel stoves and barbecues

Visitors to Queensland's parks and forests are encouraged to bring their own fuel stove or barbecue for cooking and heating. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Visitors to Queensland's parks and forests are encouraged to bring their own fuel stove or barbecue for cooking and heating. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government.

Many of Queensland's parks and forests provide free barbecues—gas, electric or wood—in the camping or day-use areas. Photo: Jodie Bray, Queensland Government.

Many of Queensland's parks and forests provide free barbecues—gas, electric or wood—in the camping or day-use areas. Photo: Jodie Bray, Queensland Government.

Fuel stoves and on-site barbecues are handy alternatives for your camp cooking and heating needs, especially in areas where camp fires are not allowed.

Fuel stoves

Fuel stoves (including portable barbecues) are defined as a portable, fully self-contained heating and cooking appliance that uses manufactured fuel. Manufactured fuels do not include wood or timber, but include a wide range of commercially available, non-toxic products such as gas, liquid and solid fuels e.g. hexamite fuel blocks, briquettes or heat beads. Generally these appliances should stand at least 20 cm off the ground.

Visitors to Queensland’s parks and forests are encouraged to bring their own fuel stove or barbecue for cooking and heating, along with the appropriate manufactured fuel for the appliance.

There are many benefits to using portable fuel stoves and barbecues. They offer a safe, easy, compact and more sustainable option for camp cooking and heating and are generally able to be used where wood-fueled camp fires are not, for example:

On-site barbecues

Many of Queensland’s parks and forests provide free barbecues—gas, electric or wood—in the camping or day-use areas. Some barbecues are coin operated so check the specific park’s web page for details. If the park has wood-fueled barbecues, wood is rarely supplied, so bring your own clean-milled wood, such as untreated mill cut-offs.

Where are barbecues provided?

Find out which parks and forests in each region provide barbecues:
Statewide | Around Brisbane | Around Townsville | Cape York Peninsula | Central Coast | Central Highlands | Mackay/Proserpine | North Queensland | Outback Queensland | Sunshine Coast | West of Brisbane

Fire prohibitions and bans

Fire prohibitions

Sometimes despite localised rainfall events, very high fire danger conditions occur in parks or forests or in bushland close to camping areas. For your safety, QPWS may impose a fire prohibition in all or parts of a park or forest. When a fire prohibition is in place, no camp fires are permitted to be lit in the prohibition area.

QPWS-imposed fire prohibitions are advertised on park alerts and on park signs. Information may also be provided in permit packs, at over-the-counter booking offices and information centres. Fire prohibitions remain in place until cancelled by QPWS.

There will be instances when a QPWS fire prohibition may be imposed when no Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) fire bans are in place in the same local government area.

Fire bans

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) declare a fire ban when conditions indicate that fires would be difficult to control and pose a danger to communities. Normally a declared fire ban will cover an entire local government area, including parks and forests.

Fire bans are advertised widely and remain in force until cancelled. Information can be obtained from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.

When a fire ban is in place, the lighting of fires in the declared fire ban area is prohibited (including wood-fueled barbecues and stoves).

Gas and electric barbecues, including gas and spirit stoves, are permitted to be used during QPWS-imposed fire prohibitions and QFRS-imposed fire bans, provided:

  • they do not have the potential to generate airborne embers or possibly ignite nearby ground fuels
  • are not left unattended
  • are suitably contained.
Last updated
17 January 2013