Burning Outside of the Fire Danger Season

Fact Sheet - Backyard Burning

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.

The burning of agricultural waste by farmers in preparing their paddocks for cropping, or for the disposal of agricultural waste is not covered by the policy, in these cases the property owners must comply with either the Code of Practice for Broad Acre Burning or Code of Practice for Pile Burning, produced by the CFS.  CFS - Codes of Practice

Click below for burning rules - Inside & Outside Townships:-


Frequently asked questions

What are the changes?

Previously, residents were 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’). 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.

This new EPA policy required Council to define township boundaries where burning is permitted as well as the circumstances. As a trial for the first year and to minimise administrative burden on defining township boundaries solely for the purpose of burning in the open, 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.

The new rules continue to be the ‘10 to 3 rule’ within township boundaries for general burning. 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.

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.

Angaston South

Eden Valley

Light Pass




Penrice North


Sandy Creek

Tanunda - North

Tanunda - South


What material can be burned?

Regardless of whether your property is within or outside of a township, only clean dried timber, paper or dried garden prunings can be burned. The material must not be green, or wet from the rain. 

Burning the correct material in a correctly structured pile will ensure a good, clean burn which will minimise the amount of smoke produced.

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.

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.

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?

Currently, residents face an expiation notice which carries a fee of $300 if they fail to comply with the requirements or undertake illegal burning.

From 1 July 2017, the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 will come into full operation which increases the penalties for a person causing a local nuisance (which includes nuisance smoke) to $500.00 per offence.

What are the other options for disposal of green waste?

A great deal of 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 2m square area.

Alternatively, there is a fortnightly roadside collection service provide by the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority (NAWMA) direct to property owners, or by taking it to green waste recycling facilities such as Kuchel Contractors or Council’s Springton Transfer Station for a nominal fee.

Clearing and removing combustible material as a method of bushfire control is preferable to burning.

Preventing Nuisance

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 unattend and allowed to smoulder, which may result in nuisance to neighbours.

Remember, that even if you comply with the policy guidelines if your fire smokes too much you may be issued with an expiation notice.

For more information please contact:

Fire Prevention Officers
P. 08 8563 8444 during office hours