Burning Off

For a quick summary of important information, download this handy Burning Off in Baw Baw Shire Fact Sheet(PDF, 369KB).

Burning off is used to minimise the risk of bushfire across the Shire in a safe manner and where alternative methods of vegetation waste disposal may not be practicable.

On 22 June 2016 Council introduced the Community Local Law 2016 which outlines what specifications, requirements and restrictions apply to each different property zone in Baw Baw Shire.

Local laws allow fires to be lit for cooking (in a barbecue, pizza oven or other properly constructed appliance) and for warmth (in a chimenea, fire pit or properly constructed appliance) as long as:

  • the fire is not offensive or a nuisance to another person in the vicinity or beyond the property boundary;
  • the fire is not a hazard to a person’s health or impacts the visibility beyond the property boundary; and
  • the fire does not create a hazard near a road.

Total Fire Bans and Restriction Periods

Burning off during the declared Fire Danger Period and/or on a day of Total Fire Ban is restricted under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958.

Any individual intending to undertake burning off during the declared Fire Danger Period or on a Total Fire Ban declared day, will need to apply to the Country Fire Authority (CFA). For more information go to CFA website.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) enforces fire restrictions during seasonal prohibited periods under the Forests Fire Protection Regulations (2014) over private land within 1.5 kilometres of public land in Baw Baw Shire. For more information go to DELWP Restriction Dates.

The DELWP restriction period dates generally coincide with those of the CFA's seasonal restrictions on burning off.


Alternatives to Burning Off

Whilst Council recognises the importance of reducing bushfire fuels, residents are strongly encouraged to consider and utilise all other alternative methods of vegetation waste disposal before burning off such as:

  • Hard waste kerbside collection;
  • Composting and mulching of materials; and
  • Disposal of hard waste at Transfer Stations.

For more information on alternative vegetation waste disposal methods go to Hard Waste.


Burning Off Zones

The zoning of land is the determining factor in whether or not open air burning is permitted. All burning in the open air must meet zone specific conditions and general provisions under the Community Local Law 2016.

To find out what zone your property belongs to, use this interactive map. If you are unclear of which zone your property belongs to, or have questions regarding specification and permits, call Council on 5624 2411.

Property Zone Conditionsand Restrictions
Residential Zone
  • Open air burning, is not permitted within residential areas, except when being used for warmth or cooking, such as barbecues, pizza ovens, chimeneas and fire pits.
  • Open air burning must not be offensive or a nuisance to other people, be the cause of a health hazard, affect motorists ability to see on the roads, or create any other hazard on or near a road.
Low Density Residential Zone
  • Open air burning is permitted in low density residential areas if the fire is lit on a Friday, Saturday or Monday between 9.00am and 6.00pm, is not bigger than 5 cubic metres and is not within 20 metres of neighbouring dwellings.
Rural Zone
  • Open air burningis permitted if general provisions and zone specific conditions are met.
  • The burn off must not be within 100 metres of a neighbouring house.
Other Zone
  • A permit is required for open air burning on land that is not zoned as residential, low density residential or rural.
Multiple Zone
  • Please contact Council on 5624 2411 to discuss your properties zone classification.


General Provisions

There are a number of general provisions that must be met for burning in the open air:

  • A notification of burn must be registered with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority on 1800 668 511.
  • The fire or use of the incinerator must be supervised by an adult at all times.
  • Sufficient fire protection equipment (including an adequate water supply) must be available to extinguish the fire if required.
  • Green waste vegetation must be dead and dry prior to burning and must not contain prohibited materials.
  • At the site of the fire, the wind speed must not exceed 15 kilometres per hour; and
  • The temperature must be not more that 30 degrees Celsius.

Materials prohibited from burning:

  • Green or wet material
  • Non-timber based materials
  • Rubber or plastic, including plastic mulch, plant pots and packaging materials
  • Painted or treated timber
  • Furnishings and carpet
  • Manufactured chemicals
  • Petroleum or oil products
  • Paint, including any container in which paint is kept
  • Food waste
  • Manure and straw
  • Offensive, noxious or toxic matter

For more information about conducting safe burn offs, go to CFA Burning Off.


A permit may be required if the zone specific conditions and general provisions in the Community Local Law 2016 cannot be met and burning off if is still necessary. 

When applying for a permit, consider:

  • A permit will not be granted if the material can be recycled or transported to a transfer station.
  • A permit will not be valid during the CFA declared Fire Danger Period, or on Total Fire Ban days and during DELWP’s Seasonal Prohibited Period.
  • The burning of industrial waste in the open is not permitted without written approval from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).
  • The permit fee (see permit application form(PDF, 132KB) for details).

Report an Illegal Burn Off

Always call 000 if life or property is in danger from fire.

If you believe that there is a burn off occurring not in accordance with the information on this page or within the Community Local Law 2016 , call Council on 5624 2411 to investigate the issue.

Wood burning and air quality

The smoke from wood heaters and open fireplaces can pollute the air we breathe, especially in autumn and winter.

Buying the right wood heater, and using and maintaining it well, is important for the health and safety of you and your family. It may well also be an important issue for your neighbours. It may affect their health and enjoyment of their home and quality of life.

For more information about what you can do if your neighbour’s wood heater is producing smoke or odour that is affecting the enjoyment of your property, please visit the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website.

Tips to reduce smoke from your wood heater

Correct installation, maintenance and operation of your wood heater will ensure you enjoy the warmth of your fire and avoid creating excess smoke that may be a nuisance to your neighbour.

  • Only purchase a wood heater that is certified to the Australian Standards AS/NZS 4013:2014 and AS/NZS4012:2014.
  • Ensure your heater is installed by a licensed person in accordance with the Building Act 1993 (Cwlth).
  • Before winter have your flue professionally checked and cleaned.
  • Refer to the manufacturer's operation manual for instructions specific to your wood heater model.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned, untreated wood.
  • Get a hot fire going quickly with plenty of paper and small kindling.
  • Keep the air controls set high enough to keep the fire burning brightly.
  • Never overload your wood heater with too much wood.
  • Never leave your heater to smoulder overnight. This starves the fire of oxygen, producing more smoke and air pollution.
  • Go outside and check the chimney occasionally for smoke emissions.
  • Consider the wellbeing of your neighbours.
  • Reducing use of your wood heater or fireplace, particularly on still days, can significantly improve air quality.
  • If you live in the city and are thinking of a wood heater for your home, consider natural gas instead. Gas heaters produce less pollution than wood heaters.

If you use wood heating, or it is your only available source of heating, the impact on air quality can be reduced through correct operation.

The amount of smoke a fire makes depends on how much oxygen is available, how hot the fire is, and how dry and well-seasoned the wood is.