14 December 2023
Walking during Birak and Bunuru
If you are considering walking over between December and March (the Birak and Bunuru seasons), please restrict your walks to day walks (duration of one day). We advise that you check the weather and fire forecasts. If the fire danger is extreme or catastrophic we recommend walkers don’t go out on the Track, or leave if they are already out. If in doubt, and the weather forecast is for hot (and windy) conditions, the recommendation is not to go walking.
Watch this video about bushwalker safety and fire. It shows how close a walker came to perishing in a bushfire in January 2018 at a Bibbulmun Track campsite.
It is usually too hot to walk in the peak of summer.
It is strongly recommended that you do not carry out any extended walk between December and the start of March anywhere on the Track.
If you do go out, you must be able to self-evacuate in the event of a bushfire as a rescue may not be possible.
The Track gets very hot and the bushfire risk is extreme. Temperatures can range from low 30s to mid-40s. In recent years the Track has been severely impacted by bushfires with the destruction of campsites and other structures which fire fighters were not able to save due to the ferocity of the fires. Much of the Track is difficult to access quickly in an emergency and more so during a bushfire.
Please plan to walk outside of these months and avoid putting your life at risk and the lives of those that may need to rescue you.
Day walks in the karri forest can be comfortable on cooler days (temperatures less than 27 degrees). We advise people planning a day walk to check the weather and fire forecasts. Again, if the fire danger is extreme or catastrophic it is strongly recommend people don’t go out on the Track. The south coast, although may be cooler, offers little protection from the sun due to the lack of a forest canopy and fire spreads more quickly in open bush and grassland. Even when walking in winter, always cover up and wear a hat and sunscreen.
Some key points to remember:
- Plan your visits for cooler periods of the year, avoiding the hot summer months (Birak and Bunuru).
- Check the Fire Danger Rating and do not go on the trails if the forecast is extreme or catastrophic.
- Do not do extended multi-day trips as it is not possible to keep up with changing conditions (extremely limited mobile phone coverage) and it is difficult to self-evacuate from the trail at short notice. You must be able to self-evacuate in the event of a bushfire. This means you should not rely on rescue services, family or friends to come to your aid.
- Avoid remoter sections of the trail where there is limited vehicle access.
- Abide by all trail closure signage, and any instructions from Parks and Wildlife and other emergency staff.
- Trails and parks may be closed on days when the Fire Danger Rating is extreme or catastrophic.
More info about total fire bans and permanent fire bans at specific Bibbulmun Track campsites.
More info about bush fires and safety.
Campfire bans will be in place at many campsites on the Bibbulmun Track.
Walkers are not permitted to light any campfires or wood operated stoves where campfire bans are in place. Please carry and use a liquid fuel stove.
Campfire bans will begin from December 1. Once in place, they may continue to April depending on weather conditions. Please check the Section By Section guide (under Trip Planner) for any changes.
Check the Section by Section Guide relevant to the section you are walking for other impacts. There are likely to be some sections of the Track that will be impacted by bushfires this summer.
On certain days, a total fire ban will be in force where walkers may not be permitted to light a fuel stove either. For information about locations of current total fire bans call 1800 709 355 or visit the www.emergency.wa.gov.au/.
No fires are permitted at any time of year at two campsites in the northern section (Yourdamung and Blackwood) and between the Mt Chance campsite (south of Northcliffe) through to Albany.
We strongly encourage walkers to always use fuel stoves to cook on whenever they are walking the Bibbulmun Track. Campfires are great to sit around, but they can have an adverse effect on the environment.