In news just to hand, several Outback parks in South Australia have introduced a total ban on wood fires for any purpose.
This does not come as a complete surprise. Wood for campfires is understandably in short supply in desert areas, where trees are usually few and far between, and what dry wood there is provides homes for insects and small animals. The ban also applies to bringing wood into the parks from elsewhere, since this can introduce weeds and other foreign matter which may be detrimental to the park. These parks have introduced the ban:
•Witjira National Park, which contains Dalhousie Springs.
•Lake Eyre National Park.
•Coongie Lakes National Park, near Innamincka.
•Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park, which contains Coward Springs
and the nearby Blanche Cup and The Bubbler mound springs. (Correction: Coward Springs Campground does allow fires under certain conditions — see comment by Prue Coulls below.)
It’s not hard to see this ban spreading to other camping areas in the Outback. The spectre of Outback camping without a campfire is not a happy concept, but neither is the possibility of some areas being permanently closed for years to allow for regeneration of natural vegetation.
A portable gas stove is not in the hunt when it comes to creating a relaxing and convivial atmosphere on a calm and balmy night in the Outback!