What legislation governs burning in the open outside of the Fire Danger Season?
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) introduced the Environment Protection (Clean Air) Policy 2016 ‘the policy’ which allows councils to manage burning in the open at a local level.
Council acknowledges the need and desire for residents to undertake burning for a variety of reasons, including bushfire hazard reduction and outdoor activities and has defined rules which balance the need for residents to undertake burning, with the need and desire for our community to enjoy our environment without the negative impacts of nuisance smoke.
When undertaken properly, the burning of good clean material results in very little smoke and nuisance. It is important to always be mindful of the impact of smoke when undertaking burning.
As such, residents experiencing the impact of excessive smoke from burning in the open should contact their neighbour to advise them of the nuisance; or if that is not possible, contact Council during business hours and officers will investigate the matter.
Frequently asked questions
Click below for burning rules - Inside & Outside Townships:-
What are the rules?
Residents are permitted to burn clean, dried timber, paper and garden prunings on their domestic property between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm, from Monday to Saturday only (ie ‘the 10 to 3 rule’). Previously, this applied regardless of whether the property was within or outside of a township. Non-domestic properties such as schools and commercial properties were required to obtain a permit.
The EPA policy required Council to define township boundaries where burning is permitted as well as the circumstances. Council has endorsed township boundaries which have been defined previously as part of the Character Preservation (Barossa Valley) Act 2012.
A general approval has been provided which allows residents to undertake burning in certain circumstances, which removes the need to obtain individual permits.
Providing residents continue to undertake burning using appropriate burning practices to minimise smoke and nuisance to neighbours, burning of dried green waste can continue to occur without a permit providing these guidelines and good burning practices are followed. Council has the option to restrict burning further across all townships if there is an identified need.
The rules continue to be the ‘10 to 3 rule’ within township boundaries for general burning of dried timber or vegetation. Properties outside of township boundaries are permitted to burn clean, dried vegetation to clean up their properties outside of these times providing the activity does not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
When is the Fire Danger Season?
The Barossa Council is within the Mount Lofty Ranges fire ban district, generally the Fire Danger Season extends from 1 December through to 30 April. There are strict controls on burning during the Fire Danger Season.
What restrictions apply to farmers and primary producers?
The burning of stubble or waste vegetation by primary producers to prepare their paddocks for cropping, including the burning of clean piles of vines stumps (outside of townships) is not covered by the policy.
Vignerons burning piles of vine stumps should follow the CFS Code of Practice for Pile Burning. All dripper line and treated timber posts must be removed before burning.
Cereal and Grain Farmers burning stubble to prior to seeding should follow the CFS Code of Practice for Broad Acre Burning.
Primary producers are reminded that other legislation may apply where inappropriate burning is undertaken, including burning of inappropriate or illegal material.
Do I really need to burn and what are the other options for disposal of green waste?
Burning can reduce the air quality and cause nuisance to others. Residents are strongly encouraged to consider more sustainable options to burning vegetation, particularly in townships.
The majority of vegetation, plant foliage, garden prunings and lawn clippings can be composted together with kitchen scraps and returned to your garden where it improves the soil and provides valuable nutrients. A properly made compost heap is clean, free of smell and only requires about a 2 square metres in area.
Alternatively, residents should consider the fortnightly roadside green waste collection service provide by Solo Resource Recovery. Further information can be obtained by contacting Council’s Customer Support Team, on 85638 444.
For larger amounts, green waste recycling facilities such as Kuchel Landscape Supplies or Council’s Springton Transfer Station will accept clean, weed-free green waste for a nominal fee.
Clearing, chipping and removing combustible material as a method of bushfire control is preferable to burning.
How do I know if my property is within a township?
In most cases it will be clear, however if you are unsure, click on the links below to view a map of your township.
Can I have a fire for warmth or comfort?
Yes. The burning of charcoal or clean dried timber for heating purposes is permitted at any time in a small and manageable pile. As a guide, use timber of the same quality that you would use in a slow-combustion or open fireplace.
What about fires for cooking purposes?
Fires can be lit for cooking purposes using charcoal or clean, dried timber at any time providing the fire is kept small and manageable.
Are there any materials that cannot be burnt?
Yes! Burning any material that contains rubber, plastic, general refuse, adhesives or treated timbers are strictly prohibited.
Also, the burning of materials such as lawn clippings or composted material should not be undertaken as these materials create excessive amounts of smoke.
Burning vegetation that is green, only recently pruned or wet should also be avoided.
Are there any time restrictions applying to burning in the open?
If your property is within a township, burning small manageable piles of accumulated dried vegetation and timber can be undertaken from Monday to Saturday only. Burning can commence from 10:00am and the fire must be completely extinguished with water by 3:00pm.
If your property is outside of a township, these times do not apply, however residents are encouraged to use the ‘10 to 3 rule’ to reduce the likelihood of smoke impacting on neighbours.
What other precautions should I take?
It is important to have regard for the weather when planning a burn particularly wind speed and direction. Residents should also actively monitor burn-offs and have access to a shovel or rake and an extinguishing agent, such as mains pressure water.
What are the penalties?
Residents face an expiation notice which carries a fee of $300.00 if they fail to comply with the requirements or undertake illegal burning.
In addition, From 1 July 2017, the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 now provides higher penalties for a person causing a local nuisance (which includes nuisance smoke) to $500.00 per offence.
Despite compliance with the above, residents must not undertake an activity which causes unreasonable nuisance to neighbours, which includes nuisance from excessive smoke from burning in the open.
It is important to monitor and be mindful of the smoke being produced. Piles should not be left unattended and allowed to smoulder, which may result in nuisance to neighbours.
Even if you comply with the policy guidelines if your fire smokes too much you may be issued with an expiation notice. Remember, wood smoke isn't good smoke - find out more about the health effects of wood smoke via the SA Environment Protection Authority.
For more information please contact:
Fire Prevention Officers
P. 08 8563 8444 during office hours