Can I or Can’t I?
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Can I or Can’t I?

Find out what you can and can't do during the declared Fire Danger Period, and on days of Total Fire Ban, when fires in the open air are legally restricted.

Total Fire Ban

Total Fire Bans are declared by CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control.


Fire Danger Period

CFA declares the Fire Danger Periods by municipality during periods of increased fire risk.


  • + BBQ / Campfires

    Can I have a barbecue, light a campfire or light a fire for warmth or comfort?

    Total Fire Ban

    Barbecues that are:

    • fired by gas or electricity, being permanently fixed structures built of stone, metal, concrete or another non-flammable material designed exclusively for meal preparation
    • OR
    • that use only gas or electricity, are designed and commercially manufactured exclusively for preparation (including portable barbecues), and when alight are placed in a stable position
    • provided that:
      • the area within a distance of 3 metres from the outer perimeter of the barbecue is clear of flammable material
      • you have either a hose connected to a water supply or a container with at least 10 litres of water for immediate use
      • an adult is there at all times when the fire is alight who has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
      • the fire is completely extinguished before the adult leaves.

    Campfires, fires for warmth or personal comfort are banned during Total Fire Ban Days. Solid and liquid fuel barbecues and ovens are also banned during Total Fire Ban Days.

    Fire Danger Period

    But only if:

    • The wind is not more than 10 kph (this can be observed if leaves and small twigs are in constant motion)
    • The fire is lit in a properly constructed fireplace or in a trench at least 30 centimetres deep
    • The area within a distance of 3 metres from the outer perimeter of the barbecue is clear of flammable material
    • The fire does not occupy an area in excess of 1 square metre and the size and dimensions of solid fuel used are the minimum necessary for the purpose
    • A person is in attendance at all times while the fire is alight and has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
    • The fire is completely extinguished before the person leaves

    Note that in accordance with the CFA Act, a "properly constructed fireplace" means a fireplace that is constructed of stone, metal, concrete or any other non-flammable material so as to contain the perimeter of the fire. A commercially produced barbecue would be considered a properly constructed fireplace.

  • + Commercial Catering

    I run a meal preparation business (eg. catering), or am a community/charitable/fundraising or similar organisation. Can I set up and light a fire to operate a barbecue, cooker, hotplate or a spit at outdoor functions?

    Total Fire Ban

    But only if you have a written permit issued by CFA or MFB and you comply with the conditions of that permit.

    A community organisation, a charitable organisation or an organisation involved in fundraising (for example, a school or sporting group involved in fundraising) may apply for permission to light a fire to prepare meals for other people in the course of their business. These permits are issued by – and at the discretion of – local CFA District offices, CFA Headquarters or MFB Zone offices. Municipal Fire Prevention Officers cannot issue these permits.

    Fire Danger Period

    But only if:

    • The wind is not more than 10 kph (this can be observed if leaves and small twigs are in constant motion)
    • The fire is lit in a properly constructed fireplace or in a trench at least 30 centimetres deep
    • The area within a distance of 3 metres from the outer perimeter of the appliance (barbecue or spit) is clear of flammable material
    • The fire does not occupy an area of more than 1 square metre and the size and dimensions of solid fuel used are the minimum necessary for the purpose
    • A person is in attendance at all times while the fire is alight and has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
    • The fire is completely extinguished before the person leaves
    • If you cannot meet these conditions you will need to apply for a permit from a CFA District office
  • + Burning off

    Can I light a fire in the open air for burning off grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

    Total Fire Ban

    All fires in the open air for burning off grass, scrub, stubble or rubbish are banned during Total Fire Ban Days.

    Any permits issued by Municipal Fire Prevention Officers are suspended for the duration of any Total Fire Ban Days.

    Any fires already alight must be completely extinguished prior to the commencement of the Total Fire Ban day.

    Fire Danger Period

    But only if:

    • You have a written permit issued by a Fire Prevention Officer of a public authority, the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer or by the CFA District office
    • You comply with the conditions of that permit
    • A person is in attendance at all times while the fire is alight and has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
    • The fire is completely extinguished before the person leaves.

    Many councils ban burning off on certain days, or within certain locations or at certain times within their municipalities. Check with the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.

  • + Driving Vehicles

    Can I drive a vehicle in places where the vehicle will be in contact with crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

    Total Fire Ban

    But only if the vehicle is fitted with an efficient silencing device (eg. muffler) that takes all of the exhaust from the engine through the silencing device.

    This should be avoided wherever possible, as the risk of starting fires is extremely high and the impact of fire on these days may be much greater.

    Fire Danger Period

    But only if the vehicle is fitted with an efficient silencing device (eg. muffler) that takes all of the exhaust from the engine through the silencing device.

    You should avoid driving vehicles through dry vegetation in hot and dry conditions, even if it is not a Total Fire Ban Day, due to the risk posed by the hot exhaust system.

  • + Chainsaw / Lawn

    Can I use a chainsaw, plant or grass trimmer or lawn mower?

    Total Fire Ban

    Chainsaws, plant or grass trimmers or lawn mowers may be used in green vegetation without limitation. However, if possible, postpone this work as the risk of starting fires is extremely high.

    But, for use in vegetation that is not green (that is dry vegetation), chainsaws, plant or grass trimmers or lawn mowers must be:

    • Free from faults and mechanical defects that could cause an outbreak of fire
    • Fitted with an efficient spark arrester
    • Have an area of at least 3 metres around the machine cleared of flammable material.

    Further, the operator of the machine, who must be in attendance at all times the machine is being used, must carry either of the following fire suppression equipment:

    • at least one knapsack spray pump, in working order, fully charged with water, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres
    • at least one water (stored pressure) fire extinguisher, in working order, fully charged with water and maintained at the correct pressure, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres.

    Note that the spark arrester, the knapsack spray pump and the water fire extinguisher referred to above must comply with the applicable Australian Standards.

    However, this activity should be avoided wherever possible as the risk of starting fires is extremely high and the impact of fire on these days may be much greater.

    Fire Danger Period

    Chainsaws, plant or grass trimmers or lawn mowers may be used in green vegetation without limitation. However, if possible, postpone this work as the risk of starting fires is extremely high.

    But, for use in vegetation that is not green (that is dry vegetation), chainsaws, plant or grass trimmers or lawn mowers must be:

    • Free from faults and mechanical defects that could cause an outbreak of fire
    • Fitted with an efficient spark arrester
    • Have an area of at least 3 metres around the machine cleared of flammable material.

    Further, the operator of the machine, who must be in attendance at all times the machine is being used, must carry either of the following fire suppression equipment:

    • at least one knapsack spray pump, in working order, fully charged with water, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres
    • at least one water (stored pressure) fire extinguisher, in working order, fully charged with water and maintained at the correct pressure, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres.

    Note that the spark arrester, the knapsack spray pump and the water fire extinguisher referred to above must comply with the applicable Australian Standards.

  • + Hot work / Bees

    Can I carry out activities including: welding, grinding, charring, soldering or gas cutting / relocating bees with a bee smoker / extracting honey using heat or flame / rail maintenance / heating bitumen?

    Any other activity associated with bee keeping that involves heat or flame requires a permit.

    Total Fire Ban

    Activities such as: welding, grinding, charring / soldering or gas cutting / relocating bees with a bee smoker / extracting honey using heat or flame / rail maintenance / heating bitumen

    are banned on Total Fire Ban Days without special permits that apply to these days. These are called Section 40 permits.

    In limited circumstances, CFA or MFB may issue a permit on Total Fire Ban Days to:

    • organisations, fundraising organisations
    • statutory corporations, councils
    • industrial or trade operations

    for the purpose of carrying out their work, or for the purpose of public entertainment, or for religious or cultural purposes.

    These permits must come from CFA District offices, CFA Headquarters or MFB Zone offices, and cannot be issued by Municipal Fire Prevention Officers.

    Fire Danger Period

    But only if:

    • A fire-resistant shield or guard is in place to stop sparks, hot metal or slag from the fire
    • An area at least 1.5 metres from the operation is clear of flammable material or wetted down sufficiently to prevent the spread of fire
    • You have a reticulated water supply or water spray knapsack containing at least 9 litres of water
    • All cut-offs and hot materials from the operation are placed in fire-proof receptacles
    • A person is in attendance at all times while the fire is alight and has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
    • The fire is completely extinguished before the person leaves.
  • + Incinerator

    Can I use an incinerator?

    Total Fire Ban

    Incinerator use is banned during Total Fire Ban Days.

    Fire Danger Period

    Provided that:

    1. You check with council about any local laws that might prescribe conditions or restrict or prohibit incinerator use (eg. bans on smog alert days, certain areas, certain times)
    2. And the following requirements are met:
      • The fire is effectively restricted within the incinerator
      • The wind is not more than 10 kph
      • The ground and air space within 3 metres from the outer perimeter of the incinerator are clear of flammable material
      • A supply of water adequate to extinguish the fire is available at all times when the fire is burning
      • A person is in attendance at all times while the fire is alight and has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
      • The fire is completely extinguished before the person leaves.
  • + Farm / Road Machinery

    Can I use self-propelled farm machinery, tractors, slashers, earth-moving, excavating or roadmaking machines propelled by a heat engine within 9 metres of any crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

    Total Fire Ban

    But only if the machinery:

    • Is free from faults and mechanical defects that could cause an outbreak of fire
    • Is fitted with a spark arrester in working order (unless it is fitted with a turbocharger or an exhaust aspirated air-cleaner)
    • Carries fire suppression equipment comprising either:
      • at least one knapsack spray pump, in working order, fully charged with water, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres
      • at least one water (stored pressure) fire extinguisher, in working order, fully charged with water and maintained at the correct pressure, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres.

    Note that the spark arrester, the knapsack spray pump and the water fire extinguisher referred to above must comply with the applicable Australian Standards.

    This should be avoided wherever possible as the risk of starting fires is extremely high and the impact of fire may be much greater.

    However, if possible, postpone this work as the risk of starting fires is extremely high.

    Fire Danger Period

    But only if the machinery:

    • Is free from faults and mechanical defects that could cause an outbreak of fire
    • Is fitted with a spark arrester in working order (unless it is fitted with a turbocharger or an exhaust aspirated air-cleaner)
    • Carries fire suppression equipment comprising either:
      • at least one knapsack spray pump, in working order, fully charged with water, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres
      • at least one water (stored pressure) fire extinguisher, in working order, fully charged with water and maintained at the correct pressure, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres.

    Note that the spark arrester, the knapsack spray pump and the water fire extinguisher referred to above must comply with the applicable Australian Standards.


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