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Backyard Burning

Changes for 2018

New rules will apply from 1 April 2018. Until then, the current rules below apply.

In 2018, there are new rules about which properties can burn and the conditions that need to be met. Further information can be found at: 
link2018 Backyard Burning (internal link).

Current Policy

Backyard burning contributes to air pollution and can cause respiratory problems. Smoke may also impact neighbours, particularly in urban areas. 

There are other preferred methods for disposing of green waste including: 

  • disposal in the organics waste bin collected fortnightly
  • using dried logs for heating
  • mulching or composting
  • taking the green waste to the Resource Recovery Centre for mulching.

There are conditions under which owners or occupiers of certain properties may burn dead and dry vegetation from property maintenance at particular times of the year. 

For other activities, such as hazard reduction burning, different approvals are required. More information on these activities is available below. 

The Bush Fire Danger Period began on 1 October 2017. 

During the Bush Fire Danger Period burning is prohibited in towns. In village and rural areas a permit is required from the Rural Fire Services.


In New South Wales, burning in the open is controlled by the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 (the Regulation). Part 2 of Schedule 8 of the Regulation allows Wingecarribee Shire Council to grant approval for burning in the open in certain circumstances. Council's Backyard Burning Policy provides the approval conditions and requirements for burning in the open in Wingecarribee local government area. 

Total Fire Ban or No Burn days

Burning is prohibited when there is a Total Fire Ban (External link) or when a

No Burn Notice (External Link) has been issued.

Bush Fire Danger Period

Backyard burning is not permitted during Bush Fire Danger Period without a fire permit. Within our shire, fire permits are given by different fire authorities depending on where the property is.

The Bush Fire Danger Period is usually from 1 October to 31 March unless the danger period is extended by authorities.

Outside of the bushfire danger period

From 1 April, some properties are allowed to burn dry vegetation from routine garden maintenance. 

In Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong and surrounding suburbs, burning is restricted to larger properties and less densely populated areas. In the villages and rural areas there are no property size restrictions.

Where and when is burning allowed?




Burning is prohibited


Burning is only approved on
properties which are:
• not zoned medium density and
• are greater than 4,000 square metres (about one acre)


Burning is prohibited unless a permit is obtained from Rural Fire Services

Burning is approved on all properties

Online Interactive Map

To improve community understanding of how the Backyard Burning Policy applies to individual properties, an online interactive map tool has been developed by Council.

The map allows you to search for your property and see if backyard burning is allowed and, importantly, what conditions that need to be complied with when planning for and undertaking backyard burning.

Click here (internal link) for more information on how to use the map.

Conditions of approval

For properties allowed to burn, Wingecarribee Shire Council has a Notice of Approval which states the conditions owners or occupiers must meet for burning to be approved. Burning of backyard vegetation must meet all the conditions of the Notice of Approval for the relevant town, village or rural area.

  • Only dead and dry vegetation from the property on which it has grown can be burnt. No other items can be burnt.
  • Burning must occur in a way that minimises air pollution, such as only burning dry material and taking into account wind direction.
  • 24 hours notice must be given to neighbours.
  • A person must stay with the fire for the whole time it is lit.

Things you can do to burn safely and reduce smoke problems

The Rural Fire Service’s Standards for Pile Burning (external link) has useful information about how to burn safely and should be followed.

The video NSW Rural Fire Service Handy hints for safe pile burning

(external link) also has useful information.

Things you can do to reduce smoke problems and air pollution include:

  • Burning only when the wind is blowing away from neighbouring properties.
  • Making a low pile around 0.5m high and not wider than 2m.
  • Burning one pile at a time.
  • Avoid burning stumps and logs. Burning stumps increases the time the fire is lit and the impact of the smoke.
  • Placing the piles to be burnt away from neighbouring buildings or fences.

Different approvals for other types of burning

Different approvals are needed for: 

  • bushfire hazard reduction activities
  • burning from land clearance or development
  • burning of vegetation cleared under the NSW Rural Fire Services 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice 
  • ecological burning.

More information for these situations can be found in the

PDF Backyard Burning Fact Sheet (PDF, 144Kb).

The Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 allows burning for the purposes of cooking, camping, recreation and burning of cleared vegetation from agricultural purposes. 

Where no domestic waste collection service is available, burning of domestic waste is allowed under Part 3 of Schedule 8 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

Apply for a Permit

To apply for a Permit, contact your nearest brigade:

  • NSW Rural Fire Service (02) 4868-5500
  • Mittagong Town Brigade (02) 4871-1002
  • Bowral Town Brigade (02) 4862-1446
  • Moss Vale Town Brigade (02) 4868-1288

Further information regarding permits can be found on the NSW Rural Fire Service (external link) and Fire & Rescue NSW (external link).

General Notices of Approval for Backyard Burning

PDF iconNotice of Approval - Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong and surrounding suburbs (PDF, 29Kb)

PDF icon Notice of Approval - Villages and Rural Areas (PDF, 22Kb)

NOTE: These Notices of Approval are provided in accordance with the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010. Failure to comply may result in a penalty of up to $500 for an individual or up to $1,000 for a corporation.

Fact Sheets

PDFBackyard Burning Factsheet (PDF, 218Kb)

External linkRFS Standards for Pile Burning (external link)

Internal linkBackyard Burning Policy (internal link)

LinkNSW Rural Fire Service Handy hints for safe pile burning
(external link)

For more information, contact:
Email: backyardburning@wsc.nsw.gov.au

Last Updated: January 16th, 2018
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