There is no doubt this year is one of the worst we’ve seen in history for fire risk and with that will likely come a record number of ‘Total Fireban Days’.
So if a Total Fire Ban is called on your wedding day, how will that impact your plans and what should you be thinking about now to mitigate those risks? We’ve done the research gaining the below from the CFS authorised website and discussions with the region 1 head office, here is our recap and answers to the questions we know you’ll have.
How do I know if it’s a total fireban?
You can refer directly to advice from the CFS using their interactive map. This map is updated regularly so warnings may change but usually displays a 3-4 day forecast on warning.
Does it stop us from accessing certain areas?
In short, Yes. To prevent further risks, majority of Forests and National Parks will be closed on days deemed to have an Extreme or Catastrophic Fire Danger, this applies to wedding favourites such as Belair National Park, Kuitpo Forest and Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. This isn’t a hard and fast rule and the local authorities of each of these spaces make the final call, we recommend you refer to their website and team directly.
Even if you aren’t planning your ceremony or reception in one of these areas this may also impact you if you were thinking of visiting during your photo tour, chat with your photographer about making a plan for this.
Will it impact our catering?
Maybe. The CFS website advises that ‘Solid fuel burning BBQs’ (ones that uses fuel such as wood, charcoal or heat beads) cannot be used unless you obtain a Schedule 10 Permit is attained, these are generally only issued for emergency purposes.
So which caterers are most at risk?
Spit roasters and Wood Oven Pizza providers are most at risk typically using cooking appliances that require the fuels noted above. It is important that you discuss this with your providers and consider a plan B.
Other providers are not immune to risk as the use of even gas-fired BBQs is restricted and must be used within 15 metres of a domestic premises or on a coastal foreshore, providing that; the BBQ is clear of all flammable material to a distance of at least 4 metres, a person who is able to control the fire is present at the site of the fire until it is extinguished and an appropriate extinguisher is at hand.
We had planned to use candles on our table, can we still do so?
If you’re in an indoor venue that allows this then yes you’ll have no issue. The definition of an indoor space according to the CFS and authorities though is a constructed building that is sealed from the outside, if you are in a space such as a shed with one open side or a marquee they do not meet this definition and are considered an outdoor space.
If you are hosting your wedding or reception in an outdoor space then an open flame is not permitted and you’ll need to revise your plan.
Even if it isn’t a total fireban day, majority of the wedding season falls in Fire Season (usually November 15 to April 30) and during this time use of naked flames is restricted. It’s a good idea to consider this carefully when thinking about your styling.
Can we have an enclosed campfire or small firepit for warmth?
No. Electric or gas heaters are the permitable option for this but, must still be used with caution.
What about fireworks?
Private use of fireworks is banned. In regards to other forms of pyrotechnics such as dry ice, it’s important to consult your licensed provider for advice.
Can people still smoke cigarettes?
- You must not smoke within 2 metres of flammable bush or grass outside of a township (Penalty: $1250).
- You must not throw a cigarette butt from a vehicle (Penalty: $500).
- You must not drop or throw a cigarette butt where it will come into contact with flammable material (Penalty: $500).
What to do if a fire breaks out nearby your wedding venue?
This is a huge question, and one we aren’t qualified to answer. If this scenario did present we would recommend you firstly, don’t panic and secondly consult with local fire authorities and your venue manager for advice.
Be responsible and everyone will have a great day – firefighters and wedding guests included! ✌️
For up to date information on active warnings and current fires refer to the following:
- CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au
- Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361
- social media – follow @cfsalerts and @cfstalk on Twitter, or like SA Country Fire Service and CFSUpdates on Facebook.
- local ABC radio, FIVEaa, or one of our other Emergency Broadcast Partners
Do not rely on a single source for emergency warning information.