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Backyard Burning

Changes for 2018

Following public consultation in July 2017, Council approved new rules about backyard burning. There are changes to the properties able to burn and how burning must be done.  Please phone Council if you have any questions on 4868 0888.

Urban Backyard Burning Of Vegetation 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 and clearing for development, different approvals are required. More information on these activities is available below. 

From 1 April 2018, some properties are able to undertake backyard burning. See "When and Where is Burning Allowed?" for all the conditions. The Bush Fire Danger Period will begin again on 1 October 2018.


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 Urban 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. 

Where and when is burning allowed?

Across the shire, individual properties that are 4000 square metres and above are eligible to burn, provided the property is not zoned medium density (R3) and all the burning conditions in the Urban Backyard Burning Policy are met. These conditions are listed under "Conditions of Approval" below.

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 need to be complied with when planning for and undertaking backyard burning.

Click here (internal link) to access the map and instructions.

Conditions of approval

For properties allowed to burn, Wingecarribee Shire Council has a Policy and 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. The conditions are listed below.

  • Burning is prohibited during Total Fire Bans or on No Burn Days.

  • During the Bushfire Danger Period a fire permit must be obtained from the RFS or NSW Fire and Rescue depending on where your property is.

  • Only dead and dry vegetation can be burnt, no other items.

  • You must take into consideration alternative ways to dispose of the vegetation. 

  • You must take into consideration the impact of smoke on neighbours and traffic. This includes considering the wind, weather and length of burn. 

  • Make sure you provide 24 hours notice and only burn dead and dry vegetation.

  • When you burn, follow the Rural Fire Services Standards for Pile Burning (external link). These are simple things you can do to burn safely and reduce the impacts of smoke on others.

  • Make sure you stay with the fire while it is lit and have resources on had to put it out if needed.

Things you can do to burn safely 

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

(external link) has useful information about how to burn safely.

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 Backyard Burning Fact Sheet below.

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

A permit is required during the Bushfire Danger Period, usually from
1 October to 31 March. 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 icon General Terms of Approval to Burn in the Open 2018 (PDF, 239Kb)

NOTE: This Notice of Approval is 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

PDF Urban Backyard Burning Fact Sheet 2018 (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)
PDF iconExample of Notice to Neighbours (PDF, 152Kb)

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

Last Updated: April 3rd, 2018
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