When Does A Fire Ban Stop You Using A BBQ?

Summer is a fine time for barbecues, but it's also the peak season for bushfires. When does a fire ban make it an offence to use your barbie?

First and foremost: just because you're permitted to do something doesn't mean you should. If you're in a bushfire-vulnerable area, then not using any kind of BBQ may well be a sensible move even if it's "allowed" under the rules for fire bans. Common sense and caution need to be your ultimate guides. The NSW Rural Fire Service has a handy checklist of BBQ safety tips.

With that said, here are the rules that apply for a total fire ban. Similar regulations apply in every state and we've adjusted the listing to reflect the strictest rules:

  • You can use an electric BBQ, but it must be supervised by an adult and no combustible material must come within five metres of it.
  • The same conditions apply to a gas BBQ, but you must also have access to a continuous supply of water (that is, a tap, not a bucket) and be either within 20 metres of a private home or at a council-approved facility.
  • Solid fuel barbecues (such as charcoal burners) may not be used when a total fire ban is in place. That smiling family in the picture will have to make other plans when that happens.

Remember the rules, act sensibly, and you'll be able to enjoy your barbecue. You can check on fire ban status on the relevant state fire authority website.


    Hmm, slightly different to my understanding of the rules.
    On Total Fire Ban Days I thought only Electric was OK.

      Depends on which state you are in. For example, you are right if you're in WA, but Angus is right if you're in NSW or Victoria.

      As the article said, they summarised each point to represent the most restrictive in any state, so if you adhere to them, you won't be breaching a TFB anywhere in Australia.

        although it's probably easiest to look up your local regulations.

        That 20m from a house regulation is pretty rough!

          I think it is saying it can't be more than 20m from a house.
          "must ... be either within 20 metres of a private home or..."

    Q: When Does A Fire Ban Stop You Using A BBQ?
    A: Do you want my honest answer?

    Good article, I had been wondering about this and couldn't find the info on the local emergency services site.

    If you're cooking over an open flame during total fire ban weather, you're clearly a masochist - stick to cool indoor cooking!

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