Fire Season

1st of October to 31st of March

Assessing risks during the fire season

A number of people have sought guidance on managing safety in recent conditions.  Scouts ACT Policy gives responsibility for determining if an activity ought to be approved to the Group Leader or Commissioner responsible. Venturer Units should make this easy for them by considering the risks prior to asking approval. 

The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you consider three fire season related elements of risk:

The ACT Branch and ACT Venturers hold Personal Locator Beacons & Radios that may be borrowed where that is an appropriate risk mitigation strategy. 

Adventurous Activities

Where you are planning or doing an Adventurous Activity, your AA Guide must also be consulted. AA Guides may be sourced here:

Personal Locator Beacons

Fire Danger

The ACT Venturer Team recommends that the risks associated with any activity be reassessed when:

It may be appropriate to move or modify  your activity.  Consideration should be given to the location of any fires in the area, the fire risk rating, your ability to remain informed of changes to the location and risk ratings and finally your ability to communicate that information and/or evacuate participants.  

If you have doubts, speak to your Group Leader, or a member of the Venturer Team. 

Status of Fires

Status and advice on fires can be found at these websites.  It is advisable to install the Fires Near Me application on your phone. 

Mobile Apps

Smoky Air

The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you follow ACT Health advice provided on the ACT Health website. 

There has been considerable smoke in Canberra during the 2019/20 Summer.  Where (smoke concentration) fine particles PM2.5 concentration exceeds a 40 ug/m3,  ACT Health advise not to spend much time outdoors, and not to do any strenuous activities/exercise.  Current concentration levels and health advice can be found on the ACT Health website. 

A State of Emergency

The ACT Venturer  team recommends that all activities that are planned to take place during a State of Emergency are reconsidered.  

In the ACT and NSW, legislation exists that enables the government to declare a state of emergency, across the State or Territory or in a specified area.  A State of Emergency is a Legal Instrument and may only be declared when an emergency exists and it is anticipated that these powers will need to be used.  

In both the ACT and NSW, the legislation provides the government, through an emergency controller, with the authority to compel the public to move, leave, and even abandon their vehicles.  The controller can close roads, seize property, and shut down utilities such as power and water. The controller can direct that buildings  be knocked down and direct other government agencies as required.  

During a State of Emergency you should consider that emergency services, hospitals and other essential services may already be exhausting their available resources and may not be in a position to support your activity should it be required. 

In the ACT, a "State of Alert" may also be declared which acknowledge the present risks, commits the Government to providing a daily update, but does not provide additional powers.

Status of State of Emergency

You can see the status of any declared state of emergency here:


You can see the legislation here:

Fire season

The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you familiarise yourself with rules in relation to fires during the fire season. 

The Fire Season in the ACT is now longer, commencing on the 1st of October and concluding on the 31st of March. During the fire season you can use gas and electric stoves/barbecues and may only light a fire in an ACT Government provided fireplace. You will be required to apply for a permit for any other fires including solid fuel barbecues. During a Total Fire Ban, fire permits are cancelled and you cannot use gas stoves and barbecues except in specific circumstances.  The rules in the ACT and NSW are different. 

The new program includes requirements for young people to light and use cooking fires, so you may need to program that in cooler months, or apply for a fire permit. 

Fire Bans

Rules for Total Fire Bans are as follows. 

Fire Season Rules and Permits

During the fire season you may need a permit to light or maintain a fire outdoors.  You can read the rules and apply for a fire permit here:

Camping and hiking

Both the ACT and NSW have closed parks and campsites for extended periods during the 2019/20 Fire Season.  It is important that you do not conduct activities in areas that have been closed.  

The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you contact authorities in the area where your activity will take place to ensure that they are aware of your activity.  

Park and Forest Closures

ACT Environment provides the following information sources for closures:

Closures of NSW Parks and NSW State Forests can be found here: