Burning Off and Permits to Burn

The following information has been reproduced with permission from the book
 ‘RURAL‘ (R U Ready for A Life Change), page 44, by author Bernie Webb.

RURAL-Burning-off-Permits-1.pdf (PDF 321KB)

When to carry out Burning Off?
(Applies only to Rural Areas – 3,501m2 or greater)

Should you decide to burn off piles of rubbish, areas of long grass or large build-up of fallen fuel such as leaves twigs etc. first confirm that you are legally allowed to?

If you are wishing to burn off during JUNE, JULY, AUGUST or SEPTEMBER, you have the required knowledge and are capable, go ahead and burn off, but only if it is safe to do so.

If it is DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY or MARCH no one is allowed to burn anything and serious consequences and penalties apply should you blatantly disregard this.

If the month is OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, APRIL or MAY then a ‘Permit to set fire to the bush’ is required as per ‘Regulation 15’ of the ‘WA Bush Fires Act 1954’.

‘Permit to set fire to the bush’

Permits can be obtained from your local Volunteer Bushfire Brigade or Council Rangers.  Permits are usually issued after the area to be burned has been assessed by the Council Ranger or Bushfire Brigade Officer as to its suitability to be burned, that the burn can be safely undertaken, is there an alternative (i.e. take a small pile to the local tip instead of burning) and that you have the required knowledge and suitable equipment to carry out the burn safely.  This would also be a good time to discuss with the Council Ranger or Bushfire Officer, the potential for the local Fire Brigade to undertake the burn for you.  There is a fee incurred when burn offs are undertaken by Fire Brigades, most of which is to cover the insurance required for each burn.

In my experience, although permits are not always issued, they usually are, especially if the intention is to reduce or remove what would otherwise be a potential fire hazard during the fire season.   A permit always comes with at least one or more of the following conditions (not an exhaustive list);-

  • The permit is NOT valid on days of forecast Very High or Extreme Fire Danger
  • You are required to notify FESA with your details and permit number before commencement of burn
  • Depending on your location you may be required to notify DEC (Dept. of Environment and Conservation)
  • Supply a hose with running water
  • Knapsack/s
  • Fire Appliance
  • Number of Personnel required
  • A firebreak surrounding area to be burned
  • Wind strength to be less than ‘X’ kph
  • Notified all nearby neighbours of intention to burn and the possibility of associated smoke.
A purpose-built fire unit can be very useful.

One advantage of having a permit and complying with the conditions is that FESA will have a record of your location and intentions.  This is invaluable on the occasions when a well-intentioned passer-by dials ‘000’ on his mobile and reports a fire at your property.  As FESA already know you are burning off they are not automatically going to turn out the local Fire Brigade.

One last point re permits before we move on.  The issuing of permits are sometimes suspended for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the permit time (beginning of April) and sometimes also towards the end of the permit time (end of November) if conditions are considered too dangerous for private burn offs to be undertaken.

See City of Kwinana website for the most up-to-date information www.kwinana.wa.gov.au

See also – WA Bush Fire Act 1954