Travelling in South Australia
Bushfires can occur without warning and can quickly impact your travel route or holiday destination.
You could be at risk travelling in the country during bushfire season. Recognise the warning signs and learn what to do to keep yourself safe.
- Know the risk of the area you're travelling in: know the Fire Ban District and the Fire Danger Rating
- Modify or postpone your travel plans when dangerous fire weather is forecast
- Know what you can and can't do on fire danger days
- Stay safe on fire danger days; plan safer activities and know where the nearest Bushfire Safer Place is
- Keep woollen blankets, first aid kit, protective clothing (not synthetic) and sturdy boots, food and plenty of water in your car
- Let family, friends or colleagues know where you will be and when and if your plans change
- Know what to do if there is a bushfire in the area
- Stay alert and informed
Know your risk
Fire Ban Districts
Fire restrictions apply throughout South Australia's Fire Ban Districts during the Fire Danger Season. Knowing which Fire Ban District you are visiting is the first step in finding out which restrictions apply.
Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans
The Fire Danger Rating is an indicator of how dangerous a bushfire could be if it occurs, not the likelihood of it happening. Understand the Fire Danger Rating to assess your level of bushfire risk and decide what actions to take.
The CFS may declare Total Fire Bans in some Fire Ban Districts or even across the whole state on days when high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity could cause fires to become uncontrollable. Barbecues and camp fires are banned on these days. Find out what restrictions are in place in your area on a Total Fire Ban day and what you can and can't do.
To find your District, Rating or if it's a Total Fire Ban:
Hearing or speech impaired? Contact us via the National Relay Service – by calling TTY 1300 555 727 or through other contact options available at relayservice.gov.au
Fire Danger Ratings
Catastrophic (Total Fire Ban)
Leaving high risk bushfire areas the night before or early in the day is your safest option – do not wait and see. Avoid forested areas, thick bush and long, dry grass.
Extreme (Total Fire Ban)
If you are not prepared to the highest level, leaving high risk bushfire areas early in the day is your safest option. Be aware of local conditions and get information.
Severe (Total Fire Ban)
Well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety – check your Bushfire Survival Plan. If you are not prepared, leaving bushfire risk areas early in the day is your safest option. Be aware of local conditions and stay informed.
Check your Bushfire Survival Plan. Monitor conditions. Leave if necessary.
On fire danger days
Fires that start on Total Fire Ban days will be more dangerous but many fires start in less than severe conditions.
- If your travel or activities take you into high risk areas, can you postpone your trip, plan a different route, swap to an activity that is safer or not banned on Total Fire Ban days?
- Can a work-related job be done on another day/safer location?
- Do your plans involve activities or tools banned on a Total Fire Ban day?
- Where is your nearest Bushfire Safer Place if a bushfire threatens?
Bushfire traveller safety
Avoid bushwalking on Total Fire Ban days but, if you are caught in a bushfire, do not try to outrun the flames.
- Head for a natural fire break, e.g. clearing or rocky outcrop
- Keep away from high ground in the path of the fire
- Cover yourself or shelter behind a solid object (e.g. a rock or solid structure) to protect yourself against radiant heat
Camping and houseboats
If camping, staying in a caravan park or travelling in a houseboat:
- Ask if there is a Bushfire Safer place or safe area nearby
- Sheltering in a brick toilet building or shower block might be an option
- Be careful using generators
- Make sure you are familiar with local restrictions applying to fires and barbecues
- If you are visiting a national park, contact your local parks office or ask the Rangers about the local fire and barbecue regulations. Some parks are closed on fire danger days so you may need to leave your campsite
If you are caught in the path of a bushfire
A car is one of the deadliest places to be in a bushfire. The only sure way to survive is to be nowhere near the fire.
- If you see smoke, slow down and be aware there could be people, vehicles or animals on the road
- Turn around where safe to do so and drive to the nearest township or Bushfire Safer Place
- Pull over to the side of the road and stop your vehicle in a clear area
- Turn your car headlights on and close windows and outside vents
- Ensure you are not in the path of the fire
- Keep your headlights and hazard lights on and wait until the smoke clears
If you can't escape the path of the fire.
- Stay inside your vehicle – it offers better protection than being in the open
- Park in a clear area, preferably behind a solid structure to block some of the radiant heat
- Face your car towards the fire
- Turn the engine and air-conditioning off
- Tightly close the doors, windows and air vents
- Lie on the floor and shelter under woollen blankets to protect yourself from radiant heat
- Avoid dehydration: drink lots of water
- Heat and smoke from the fire and fumes from the car may make breathing difficult – stay under the blankets and cover your mouth with a P2 mask
- Stay down until the sound of the fire has passed, carefully leave the car (it will be hot)
- Move to a safe area (e.g. land that has already burnt)
Where to go on fire danger days
Leaving a high risk bushfire area early, before a fire starts, is always the safest option for your survival. We have identified places that can offer relative safety from a bushfire.
Bushfire Safer Places
- Adelaide Metropolitan area, outer suburbs and rural settlements. Use if you need to relocate early.
- Suitable for use during forecast bad fire weather or during bushfire.
- May be subject to sparks, embers and smoke.
Bushfire Last Resort Refuge
- Ovals, buildings in rural areas. Use only if your plan has failed.
- Not suitable for extended use and provides only limited protection during bushfire.
Do not rely on a single source for emergency warning information. On high fire danger days:
- Subscribe to bushfire warnings
- Check Facebook @CountryFireService and Twitter @CFSalerts
- Listen for emergency warnings and have a battery powered radio in case power or your mobile service goes out
- Call the Information Hotline 1800 362 361 (TTY 133 677)
- Talk to friends, family and neighbours
- Download the AlertSA app