Fire & Rescue NSW - Fire Permits & Open Burning

FOR THE ATTENTION ALL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES INVOLVED OPEN BURNING

BACKGROUND

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) recently completed a project that reviewed the FRNSW fire permit issuing process and has established a comprehensive FRNSW Fire ePermit policy. As part of this Project’s communication strategy, General Managers of Councils within FRNSW Fire District are being contacted to clarify the existing requirements for Council staff involved with open burning for fires lit within FRNSW jurisdiction.

KEY POINTS

  • All Council Staff should be made aware that FRNSW issue Fire Permits all year round for any fire lit within FRNSW Fire District
  • Under Section 88 of the Rural Fires Act 1997, a person who lights a fire on land within a fire district in circumstances in which would be likely to be dangerous to any building, is guilty of an offence unless the person is authorised to do so- this is achieved by the applicant contacting their local FRNSW Station to apply for a fire permit. In addition to this, the person must comply with any conditions set out in the FRNSW fire permit including giving notice in accordance with Section 86 of the Act
  • It should be noted that this year-round issuing requirement differs to Rural Fire Service NSW (RFS) where, within their jurisdiction, RFS only require fire permits to be issued to private land owners seeking to light fires during the area’s declared Bushfire Danger Period
  • RFS cannot issue fire permits for fires lit within FRNSW Fire District and conversely, FRNSW cannot issues Fire Permits for fires located within RFS jurisdiction
  • FOR COUNCILS UNDER SCHEDULE 8 OF THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT OPERATIONS (CLEAN AIR) REGULATION 2002 and where applicable, FRNSW Station Commanders before issuing a fire permit, will refer residents to Council staff for verifying that the purpose of the fire given the location of where the fire is intended to be lit, complies with this legislation.

CALL TO ACTION

ALL COUNCILS: It is requested that Council review and amend any information detailed on supporting documentation such as on handouts or on Council websites as required to reflect that FRNSW issue fire permits all year round.

ANY COUNCIL LISTED SCHEDULE 8 under the PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT OPERATIONS (CLEAN AIR) REGULATION 2002: It is requested that these Councils review how they communicate any prohibited burning aspects and applicable Parts under the Schedule, to ensure there is clarity for residents intending to light a fire, and a clear means for them to establish that they have obtained appropriate authorisation based on any council By-Law requirements to FRNSW Station Commanders if able to light a fire. How this is done is up to the individual council however consideration should be given that FRNSW Fire District covers the majority of Schedule 8 local government areas and at present, each council has differing By-Laws and processes regarding upholding this legislation.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR FRNSW CONTACT POINT

For any enquiries, please contact FRNSW Bushfire and Aviation on 02 8741 5489, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

Burn Notifications:                         1300 141 119