Burning of Vegetation

Sometimes referred to as backyard burning or pile burning, open burning is the act of burning anything in the open air and is regulated across NSW by the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010. The intention of the Regulation is to minimise air pollution associated with burning.

Open burning is restricted in the Bellingen Shire and strongly discouraged within or close to built up areas. Residents are encouraged to use Council’s green waste services in preference to burning.

Do I need a permit from the Council before I light a fire?

Yes, under State legislation Council or the EPA must give approval to cause pollution. 

The NSW Rural Fire Service or NSW Fire and Rescue should be contacted before the lighting of any fire. 

All approved burning activities must be undertaken in accordance with the Rural Fire Service / Fire & Rescue NSW document Standards for Pile Burning.

Enquiries and applications for hazard reduction work must be made with the NSW Rural Fire Services.


How do I gain Council approval?

You can apply by filling in our application form: Light and maintain an open fire and submitting it to Council.


What can be approved to burn?

Dead and dry vegetation (seasoned sticks and branches) from plants that grew on the property.


What can NOT be burnt?

  • building wastes
  • plastics
  • general waste/garbage
  • tyres
  • paint and paint containers
  • solvent residues and containers
  • coated wire
  • treated timbers

The above information does not relate to fires used for cooking or recreational purposes (camping, picnicking, scouting or similar outdoor activities), eg. campfires. Fires lit for this purpose are only permitted if they comply with the following conditions:

  • only dry seasoned wood (or store bought BBQ fuel) is burnt
  • there is at least 2m around the fire clear of any combustible material, and
  • the fire is contained within a metal drum, store bought fire pit or constructed fire ring.


Wood smoke in urban areas

Burning wood, vegetation and rubbish in open fires and incinerators in your backyard can cause smoke, which is a major cause of air pollution.

In the Bellingen Shire Council area there are only certain situations where fires can be lit. These are for recreational purposes such as BBQs or camping. For more information on these exemptions please contact council on 1300 136 833.


Wood smoke in rural areas

You need a permit if it's a bush fire danger period. Getting a permit is free and easy, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service to get the latest information. 

Fire Safety Information