As the cold weather rolls in many South Australians are set to enjoy a long weekend of holiday fun, but they should be aware of one little-known law if they want to light a fire outdoors to keep warm.
The South Australian 'Burning in the Open' laws mean residents heating an outdoor area using a solid fuel fire within townships or metropolitan Adelaide can only burn charcoal - not wood - unless a permit is granted by the local council.
Environment Protection Authority manager legislation and policy, Steven Mudge, said there were circumstances in which wood could be used for an outdoor fire.
"...If the primary purpose of a fire is for cooking a meal, then dry wood, charcoal or dry plant material can be used in any area across the state this winter, so long as the fire is specifically built for that purpose," he said.
"A good example of this is when barbeques or pizza ovens are in use."
Country Fire Service chief officer Mark Jones said there were safety measures for an outdoor fire.
"Ensure the fire is in a 30cm deep trench and that it is no larger than one square metre in area," he said.
"And, have a four-metre cleared space both around and above the fire to prevent it from spreading to vegetation, your home or other property."
Other measures should include:
- Having an extinguishing agent available before you light your fire
- Having a responsible adult present at all times if children will be around the fire
- Keeping lighters and matches up high, out of the reach and sight of children
- Encouraging people to be sensible and safety conscious around the fire
Minister for Emergency Services Corey Wingard wanted to remind people to take safety measures during Home Fire Safety Week, which runs from June 1 to June 8.
"In winter, many South Australians enjoy warming up outdoor areas with fire pits, braziers, chimineas or outdoor combustion heaters," Mr Wingard said.
"At night it can be a wonderful family experience to rug up, talk around the fire and look up at the stars.
"But, I'd like to urge everyone to follow the safety advice of the MFS and CFS when lighting up their outdoor fires this winter. A few simple steps can prevent injuries or property damage."
The rule to burn charcoal only for outdoor heating fires has been in place for metropolitan Adelaide since 1994, with townships progressively taking on the rulings between then and 2016.
The penalty for not observing the outdoor heating fire rule across townships is a fine of $300 that can be issued by local councils or SA Police.