Nationwide Australian ban on portable decorative ethanol burners

The danger of ethanol burners
Got one of these ethanol burners? They'll be banned in WA from December 21.

A national ban has been placed on portable decorative ethanol burners, after causing more than 100 injuries and 36 house fires across the country.

Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack imposed the 60-day interim ban after being advised the burners create a “risk of serious injury” by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The decorative burners, which can be freestanding or sit atop furniture, are filled with methylated spirits, ethanol or bio fuel.

An example of a portable decorative ethanol burner.An example of a portable decorative ethanol burner.

The interim ban applies to the supply of burners that do not have specified features and warnings, as the ACCC continues to look at long-term options.

Mr McCormack said he was worried about the potential harm the products could cause, and urged people to stop using them.

“Many of these products allow the user to refuel the device in the same opening as the burner,” he said.

“The flame is often hard to see and injuries commonly occur when consumers refuel burners which are still burning. This can cause intense uncontrolled fires and fuel bottle explosions.”

Products intended for cooking or heating, burners which require installation and larger freestanding devices with specific safety features and warning are exempt from the ban.

Victoria, NSW, Queensland and WA banned portable ethanol burners in December, after they caused dozens of house fires and serious injuries, including a woman from Perth who spent weeks in an induced coma after a burner engulfed her in flames.