Lighting a campfire or barbecue will now carry a maximum penalty of $2200.
Lighting a campfire or barbecue will now carry a maximum penalty of $2200.

Campfires and barbecues in forests now banned

CAMPFIRES and barbecues using wood, charcoal and other solid fuels are now banned in most State forests until further notice to reduce the risk of bushfires.

The ban covers State forests including those on the Coffs Coast and Mid North Coast, with a wildfire recently igniting from an escaped campfire on the Mid North Coast.

It is expected the ban will not be lifted until after significant rainfall.

Failure to comply with the Solid Fuel Fire Ban carries a maximum penalty of $2200.

Forestry Corporation of NSW's Senior Manager of Stewardship, Kathy Lyons said campers and picknickers could continue to bring and use gas stoves during the ban, except during declared total fire bans.

"Fire season has commenced early this year due to the very dry conditions and warmer days across much of the state. Forest fuels and soils are extremely dry and our firefighters on the north coast are already fully committed fighting many fires which have taken off due to windy conditions," Ms Lyons said.

"All fires using solid fuels such as wood or charcoal are now banned in most State forests across the state until further notice. This ban applies to State forests of the South Coast, Sapphire Coast, the Watagan Mountains, Barrington Tops, Mid North Coast, Coffs Coast, Northern and Southern Tablelands, Central West, Mid-west and North-west NSW."

"This ban applies every day, not just on days when total fire bans are declared, so we are asking people who are planning to camp in the forests during spring and summer to plan ahead and bring gas appliances."

Visitors should also be mindful when a total fire ban is declared, as all fires including gas fires are prohibited on total fire ban days.

Information on total fire bans are available on the Rural Fire Service website.

Ms Lyons said Solid Fuel Fire Bans had been enforced in a number of State forests since 1990 to reduce the risk of bushfires.

The exception to this ban is State forests in the Snowy Mountains and the River Red Gum where the forests are not as dry due to recent snow and rain.