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Fire permits

NSW Rural Fire Service

For the latest information on current bushfire warnings and bushfire safety resources visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au [external link]

Fire permits, together with Total Fire Bans, are issued so as to reduce the number of fires that destroy property, the environment and peoples lives.

When do I need a fire permit?

Fire permits are required for open burning during the Bushfire Danger Period, which runs in most areas from 1 October to 31 March (some areas which have increased danger may run for longer).

  • If you intend to carry out any burning off during a bushfire danger period
  • If you intend to light a fire that is likely to be dangerous to any building at any time of the year

In cases where burning is not for the purpose of hazard reduction, other environmental approvals may be required. For a full list of burning activities, the type of environmental approval required and who issues the approvals, see Fire Permits > Burning approvals.

Permits are required in some Local Government Areas all year round. For a full list of these Local Government Areas see the Government of NSW Legislation website [external link]

Where can I get a fire permit?

Depending on which Fire District you live in, fire permits are issued by Fire & Rescue NSW stations or the NSW Rural Fire Service fire control centre and fire permit issuing officers. For more information contact your local fire station.

How long does a permit last?

A permit lasts for a maximum of 21 days, but a shorter period can be specified on the permit.

What conditions apply to the permit?

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 a minimum of one adult always in attendance; the permit must be carried by the holder at all times, etc.

Can a fire permit be cancelled or suspended?

A permit can be cancelled or suspended at any time.

Permits are automatically suspended during:

  • Total fire bans
  • No burn days

Unless a permit has expired, it may be used after the lifting of a total fire ban or no burn notice.

To cancel or suspend a permit the holder of the permit must be given notice in writing, unless the issuer of the permit is of the opinion that weather conditions are conducive to the outbreak or spread of a bushfire in which case the permit holder can be notified orally.

What else do I have to do?

Before lighting the fire

It is your responsibility to ensure that the fire:

  • Is consistent with the relevant bushfire management plan
  • Can be contained and controlled within the specified area
  • Will not contain toxic materials, such as rubber tyres, plastics, paint, etc
  • Will not cause an air pollution problem by producing excessive amounts of smoke.

You must also check:

  • Whether an appropriate authority - either the Commissioner of the Fire & Rescue NSW or the Commissioner of the RFS - has issued a notice banning the issue of permits because of the seriousness of the bushfire danger in the area
  • Whether a no burn day has been declared
  • Whether a total fire ban is in force
  • The expected weather conditions

Notify

The permit holder must give at least 24 hours notice of intention to burn to all occupants of adjoining land and to the local fire station or the Fire Control Officer in Rural Fire Districts.

Adjoining lands includes land separated from the permit holder's land by a road, lane or waterway, whether fenced or not. If the land is not occupied, the owners of the land must be notified.

The notice may be either written or verbal and must include details of the location, purpose and time of fire proposed to be lit.

The issuing of fire permits for lighting fires in Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Fire Districts is covered under the Rural Fires Act 1997. [external link]