Camp fires and cooking

    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.

    Where can I have a camp fire?

    You can have camp fires in many of our camping areas, as long as you use the fireplaces, fire rings or existing fire locations.

    Help us protect our national parks by bringing clean firewood and kindling from outside the park—all the wood within the park is protected and cannot be collected or used for fires.

    Safety tips for camp fires

    What about fuel stoves?

    Fuel stoves and off-ground self-contained appliances (Oz-pig style cookers) using manufactured fuels are great alternatives for cooking and to keep you warm while camping. These are safer, easier to use and more sustainable options for cooking and heating. They can generally be used where (or when) wood-fuelled camp fires and barbecues cannot, such as:

    • in areas where camp fires are not allowed or are seasonally restricted due to high fire danger
    • during QPWS fire prohibitions.

    Where are barbecues provided?

    Some of our picnic and camping areas have barbecues. Check the park's web page for details because, while some are free, others are coin operated.

    Find parks and forests with barbecues.

    Fire prohibitions and bans

    Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS)

    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.

    Some protected areas may impose lengthy or permanent fire prohibitions to:

    • reduce the risk of bushfires
    • protect critical habitat of endangered wildlife from fires
    • enhance visitor safety from camp fire related injuries
    • reduce rubbish from non-combustible materials being burnt in camp fires.

    During a QPWS fire prohibition the following cooking and heating appliances are still permitted, but they must meet the following requirements:

    • The appliance must use gas or manufactured fuel (heat beads, briquettes). Manufactured fuel does not include timber or wood.
    • It must be used only for cooking and/or heating.
    • It must be a minimum of 20cm off the ground and more than 2m from flammable material, which includes vegetation.
    • It must not have the potential to generate airborne embers, or possibly ignite nearby ground fuels.
    • It must be fully self-contained (heat source enclosed and no exposed flame) and never be left unattended when in use.
    • All appliances, materials and burnt fuel must be removed from the protected area on your departure.

    QPWS-imposed fire prohibitions are advertised on park alerts and park signs. Information may also be provided in permit packs, located 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.

    Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES)

    The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) 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 Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

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

    The following cooking and heating appliances must not be used when a fire ban is in place:

    • all wood fires, including open camp fires and fires in braziers, drums, other open containers,
    • QPWS supplied fire-rings and on-site barbeques, and
    • ash producing fuels, heat beads, Oz-pigs and similar appliances.

    Gas and electric barbecues, including gas and spirit stoves, are permitted to be used during QFES-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.