Outside Burning

Important information concerning the interpretations of legislation and other policies is contained in this page. It is recommended that the Disclaimer be read in conjunction with the information provided.

Burning is an issue that concerns people for a number of reasons. Protecting property and ensuring personal safety are paramount at times of bushfire while air pollution and the health risks associated with smoke can be a problem at any time. Property owners need to take responsible action to help prevent fire risks and steps can be taken to ensure good air quality is maintained.

What legislation regulates burning?

The Fire Service Act 1979 regulates the use of fires in the open air where these fires may impact on community safety should they burn out of control.

The General Fire Regulations 2000, outline precautions and equipment necessary for fire safety in buildings with public access. For further information on this topic, the Tasmania Fire Service (PDF doc 133 KB) has developed a booklet that summarises the obligations of owners and occupiers of these buildings.

Smoke from fires can be a nuisance or worse and is subject to regulation under the  Environmental Management and Pollution Control(Distributed Atmospheric Emissions)Regulations 2007 and the Local Government Act 1993. Under the regulations of the Building Act 2000, waste from building activities or on building sites must not cause a nuisance.

What is a total fire ban?

A total fire ban is a ban on any fire in the open air, other than a built-in gas barbecue, as well as a ban on using any equipment in the open air that emits naked flames or sparks. A total fire ban is declared when bushfires are likely to be difficult or impossible to control, usually in summer between the months of November and March. For more information on total fire bans see the Tasmania Fire Service website.

Can I use a backyard incinerator?

Under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Distributed Atmospheric Emissions) Regulations 2007 a person must not burn waste or fuel in the open or in an incinerator on land that has an area of less than 2,000 square metres.

Penalties apply.  

Smoke can aggravate an existing respiratory ailment such as asthma and bronchitis or increase the risk of respiratory problems.


Restricting the use of the backyard incinerator, the wood heater and open air burning helps keep the air clean and prevent smoke and smog pollution.

What can I do to protect my house in a bushfire?

The Tasmania Fire Service website contains valuable information on what home owners can do to protect their property in times of bushfire.

Can I join the local fire brigade?

Local brigades are made up of men and women who serve as volunteers. They can serve either as operational fire fighters i.e. who deal with bushfires, house fires, motor vehicle accidents etc., or as support members who look after areas such as fundraising, communications and administration, or equipment maintenance. The Tasmania Fire Service website has more information on what volunteers do and how you can get involved.