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Preparing for Summer Camping – from the Conservation Regulator

The Conservation Regulator oversees the regulation of wildlife, forests and public land in Victoria.  With summer finally here, they are keen to help everyone stay safe in the bush with some great tips on summer camping.

With hotter and drier conditions predicted this summer, a high fire risk, and more visitors anticipated in our forests and beaches, we want all Victorians to be campfire safe and to look out for others when visiting the great outdoors – wildlife included!

If you’re setting up camp in the bush over the next few months, it’s important to brush up on campfire rules before leaving home to avoid risking communities and the environment. Prepare before lighting your campfire by making sure you:

  1. Know how to build and maintain a safe campfire: always use a purpose-built fireplace or dig a 30cm deep trench, clear 3m around it of flammable materials, and keep all branches and logs under 1m long.
  2. Know the rules specific to your campsite: this can differ between forests and parks. Check the Parks Victoria website or call them 131 963 for National Park information. Call 136 186 for rules in state forests.
  3. Check the weather conditions and Fire Danger Ratings: never light a fire on a Total Fire Ban day, and if it’s hot and windy, consider if you really need a fire. If in doubt, don’t light one.
  4. Have quick access to at least 10 litres of water: pack a bucket and keep it filled with water, not soil, to make sure your campfire can be completely extinguished.

Campers are responsible for keeping their campfires safe, including never leaving it unwatched or unattended, and if you leave the campsite even if only for a short while, put out your campfire. If it’s cool to touch, it’s safe to leave.

And whether you’re heading out for a long trip or just for the day, make sure you follow all public land rules to prevent environmental harm and wildlife crime:

  • Littering: Clean up after yourself and take all rubbish home with you.
  • Off-road vehicles: Drivers and riders must be licenced, have vehicles registered, and stick to open, formed roads.
  • Other recreational activities: If you want to pan for gold, fly your drone, or go horse-riding or mountain bike-riding, there are specific rules you need to follow. For more info, visit the More to Explore app.
  • Wildlife: Marine mammals and hooded plovers will be active along the coast and reptiles will be out in forests. Keep your distance, have dogs on-lead, and never feed them.

Authorised Officers are patrolling in forests and along the coast to ensure everyone knows and follows camping, campfire, and outdoor recreation rules to prevent environmental harm and wildlife crime.

You can report any illegal behaviour on public land to 136 186 and any wildlife crime to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000. Bushfires should be reported to 000. For more information about rules in state forests, visit their website.

You can read and subscribe to the Conservation Regulator newsletter for all the latest news, including information on reporting offences, and an update on the outcome of legal cases.