The aim of the Fire Permit is to ensure fire will be used safely. A Permit imposes conditions on the way a fire is lit and maintained, and can only be issued by authorised Permit Issuing Officers.
The Permit system informs the authorities exactly when and where landowners intend to burn, to ensure adequate and appropriate measures are in place, so that fires remain under control.
To carry out a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Burn, you may need:
- a Fire Permit and/or
- an Environmental Approval (Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate (BFHRC)). If you need a BFHRC you must gain this before applying for a separate Fire Permit, to burn.
For more information see Environmental Assessment of Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Works.
The Bush Fire Danger Period
The statutory Bush Fire Danger Period runs from October 1st to March 31st, however it may vary due to local conditions. If you are planning to light a fire in the open during this time, you will need a permit.
Depending on the type of fire, a permit may be required all year round or only during the Bush Fire Danger Period. For example, a Fire Permit is required at all times if a fire is likely to be dangerous to a building.
When are Permits Required?
A permit may be required 12 months of the year or only during the Bush Fire Danger Period, depending on the type of fire.
The permit issuing Officer may add any conditions deemed as necessary but all permits have standard conditions that are listed on the permit form, such as:
- the Permit is to be carried by the permit holder, or another person at all times at the site of the fire.
- the fire must be supervised at all times.
- notifications are given to the RFS, and adjoining neighbours at least 24 hours prior to the fire being lit and
- the permit may be varied, cancelled or suspended, depending on weather conditions.
For more information showing where the Bush Fire Danger Period has been declared and permits to burn are currently required for that area see Where Are Fire Permits Required?
When are Fire Permits Not Required?
Fire Permits are NOT required for fires that are lit for the purpose of land clearance or the creation of a fire break during the NON Bush Fire Danger Period.
Additionally, fire permits are not required for fires for the purpose of heating or cooking, provided that:
- the fire is in a permanently constructed fireplace;
- at a site surrounded by ground that is cleared of all combustible materials for a distance of at least two metres all around;
- The fire is completely extinguished before leaving.
For more information on the cancellation or suspension of permits see Fire Permits and Total Fire Bans.
What Else Do I Need To Do
Before lighting the fire ensure that :
- it can be contained and controlled within the specified area?
- it does not contain toxic materials, such as rubber tyres, plastics, paint, etc; and
- it must not cause an air pollution problem by producing excessive amounts of smoke.
You must also check:
- whether a No Burn day has been declared
- whether a Total Fire Ban is in force
- the expected weather conditions
Applying For A Permit
Fines and Penalites
Substantial fines and prison terms of up to 12 months may apply to persons found to be in breach of The NSW Rural Fires Act 1997 and its regulations.
Civil law suits can also be bought against persons responsible for fire, by those seeking compensation, for losses sustained.
For more information about Fines and Penalties, or assistance regarding whether you need a Fire Permit or not, contact your local RFS Fire Control Centre.
Fire Permits and Total Fire Bans
Bush fires are more likely to spread and cause damage on days when the weather is very hot, dry and windy. These are very high to extreme fire days.
Total Fire Bans are declared on these days to reduce the risk of fires damaging or destroying life, property and the environment.
- Even with a permit, the lighting of fire is prohibited and the permit is automatically suspended, on Total Fire Ban Days, days of Extreme Fire Danger, or when the Environment Protection Authority, (known as Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC)), declares a NO BURN DAY.
No Burn Notice Days
You can find out if a no Burn Notice Day applies by:
- checking The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website (known as Department Environment and Climate Change (DECC)) or
- calling the Environmental Information Line on 131 555.
Suspended fire permits may resume after the Total Fire Ban or the No Burn Day is lifted, provided the fire permit has not expired.
However, if a permit is cancelled, a new fire permit must be applied for and obtained prior to undertaking a burn.
Call your local RFS Fire Control Centre, or local Council for further advice.