Media Release

Common sense needed on backyard fires

27/07/2017 5:00 pm

The Greens will move in Parliament next week to change the laws covering backyard barbeques and fires to bring a more common sense approach to the issue, according to Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader of the Greens SA.

Under existing laws, backyard fires are permitted in Metropolitan Adelaide provided the only fuel used is charcoal.  There is an exception made for cooking fires, where dried wood is also able to be burned.  However, if you just want a fire or brazier to sit around in the yard or on the patio with your family and friends, it has to be charcoal.
This distinction has resulted in some people keeping a packet of marshmallows close by, so they can claim that the fire is for cooking in order to justify using firewood rather than charcoal.

"This is a complete nonsense and everybody knows it", said Mark Parnell.
 
"The law should focus on dealing with clearly inappropriate behaviour such as burning domestic rubbish, green waste or leaves, not making criminals out of residents who are simply enjoying socialising around a backyard fire.  Most commercially available heat beads aren't even 100% charcoal, so they probably infringe the law already.

"We certainly don't want to go back to the bad old days of backyard incinerators burning rubbish and choking our suburbs with acrid smoke, but a cheerful well-managed fire using dried firewood shouldn't be against the law.

"We know that excessive smoke and accompanying "particulate matter" are bad for human health, yet this is a situation where common sense should be allowed to prevail, with similar laws for indoor and outdoor fires," concluded Mark Parnell.

The rules around backyard fires have been around for many years, but are currently being reviewed by Parliament's Environment Resources and Development Committee.  The Greens will be moving in the Committee to revise the laws to better reflect sensible restrictions rather than arbitrary ones.  The next meeting is on Thursday 3rd August 2017.

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