Before you go

  • Check with the local fire authority that there are no bush fires or hazard reduction burns in the area you are planning to walk in.
  • Download the Bureau of Meteorology app to your phone.
  • Check the Bureau of Meteorology weather forecast prior to commencing any activity, particularly a multi-day activity. Cancel the activity if windy conditions and high temperatures are predicted.
  • Do not go bushwalking or hiking on days that are rated EXTREME or CATASTROPHIC on the Fire Danger Index.
  • Reconsider or cancel your plans on days rated HIGH on the fire Danger Index. when there’s a heightened risk. Be alert for fires in your area and decide what you will do if a fire starts.
  • Many NSW National Parks are closed on Total Fire Ban Days. A Total Fire Ban will generally not be declared until 5 pm the day before it takes effect. An activity must be cancelled if the park manager declares the park or any of the tracks or trails closed.
  • Note features on your map where you could shelter if caught in a bushfire, such as rocks, hollows, embankments, streams or roads.
  • Notify someone of your route, expected time of return, and the participants.

Manage risk while bushwalking

  • On multi day hiking activities if a Total Fire Ban is unexpectedly declared (or suspected) leave the park early. If this is impossible, find the safest place possible to spend the day.
  • On a multi-day activity use a mobile phone and/or a portable AM/FM radio to monitor news bulletins for information on fire activity, fire danger ratings, total fire bans and park closures.
  • Carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) so that emergency services can locate you if necessary.
  • From November to April, bring some no-cook meals and water purification solutions that will work without a stove, as naked flames of any kind are forbidden on Total Fire Ban days, including; all campfire and solid fuel (wood, heat beads, charcoal, briquettes, hexamite) and liquid fuel (petroleum, oil, methylated spirits, kerosene) barbecues and stoves.
  • On Total Fire Ban days it is permitted to use gas or electric BBQs installed by NPWS. but visitor-owned gas or electric BBQs are prohibited unless they are in a caravan or 3-sided enclosed caravan annexe. Check for more details of the NPWS fire-ban rules on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.
  • Extinguish all candles and camp fires before going to bed, ensuring the ashes are cold.
  • Smoking is not permitted in National Parks at any time.

What to do if caught in a bushfire

  • Call Triple Zero 000
  • Move to a cleared area. You can’t outrun a fire. Look for shelter in rocks, hollows, embankments, streams or roads. Do not hide in water tanks. Remember that radiant heat can be as deadly as flames.
  • Head to a lower area, not uphill, as a bushfire will rapidly ascend from valleys to ridges.
  • Drink plenty of water and cover your mouth with a damp cloth.
  • Keep low and cover your skin.
  • Move to burnt ground once the fire has passed.
  • As a last resort only you may need to run through the flames to a burnt out area. Choose a relatively clear area where flames are less than a metre high, take a deep breath, cover your face and run.
  • Contact someone to let them know your situation as soon as possible.

More information can be found on the Rural Fire Service website including the brochure Bushfire Safety for Bushwalkers

Where can I find bushfire warnings?

NSW & ACT NSW Rural Fire Service publish details of bushfires and hazard reduction burns online. Download the NSW Rural Fire Service Hazards near Me app on Apple App store or Google Play for Android for information on the go in New South Wales and the ACT.
VIC Vic Emergency lists all Victorian emergency warnings. You can also download the FireReady app from this site. FireReady is the official Victorian Government app for access to timely, relevant and tailored bushfire warnings and information in Victoria.
QLD Queensland Fire and Emergency Services lists bushfire warnings with an interactive map.
SA The South Australian Country Fire Service lists incidents and warnings on its website.
TAS TasAlert lists bushfire warnings with an interactive map.
WA Western Australia Emergency WA features an interactive map with cyclone, flood and bush fire warnings.
NT ABC Emergency is the official broadcaster for fire and emergency warnings.
NZ Fire and Emergency New Zealand National is the unified rural and urban fire service with fire safety information. Check their Facebook page for regular updates on extreme weather like cyclones and floods. Ring 111 in an emergency.  Met Service lists New Zealand official weather forecasts and weather warnings.