Voice of Real Australia: Firing up the fire pit? Think again

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Photo: File

Photo: File

Thinking about lighting up the fire pit this weekend and enjoying a quiet lockdown bevie?

You might have to pop that match back in the box, pocket that lighter.

What was once an Aussie tradition of hanging around the bonfire or gathering around the 44-gallon drum has got Australian authorities spooked.

Fire pit sales are booming and it's lead to one state already demanding fire pit owners apply for a permit before sparking up. Much like one has to do before lighting a pile burn.

See while you might be warming your toes and enjoying the great outdoors, your neighbours might be ringing council to have a whinge about all that smoke billowing into their backyard.

Yep, the fire pit is turning into a real bunfight.

Health concerns around the smoke have prompted the South Australian government to impose permit conditions on the use of fire pits within its borders, while Brisbane City Council is moving to regulate the use of them.

This new fight over the fire pit reminds me of the ongoing battles over wood heaters.

As the weather cooled the debate was back in the news again in Canberra, as pro-fire and anti-fire campaigners laid out their arguments.

As some background, smoke from wood fires is generally the ACT's largest source of air pollution, and is associated with asthma, chronic lung disease and heart problems. Since 2004 the ACT government has run a Wood Heater Replacement Program. They are prohibited in new suburbs.

But fire advocates say nothing beats the warm glow of a fire.

As an owner of a wood combustion fire, I'm with them. We've had to have ours off for long stretches of this winter due to renovations, instead we've been relying on air conditioning.

And sorry, but it's just not the same. As soon as you turn the air-con off, the house is cold. If the fire goes out overnight you still wake to toasty toes the next morning.

There's just something about a fire that air-con will just never match. Maybe it's the dollar signs you watch disappearing minute by minute the air-con is on that ruins the warmth, or perhaps it's just that air-con can't bring everybody together the way a fire does.

Whatever it is, you can't beat the warm hug a fire gives a house. So go on, light that fire pit and gather for some quality time with the (in-house) family this weekend. We all need it in lockdown.

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