Open Burning in Dungog Shire Council area

Burning in the open in NSW is regulated by the Protection of the Environment (Clean Air) Regulation 2010. Whilst burning of wastes in the open in NSW is generally prohibited, the Regulation allows Dungog Shire Council to approve open burning of dead and dry vegetation in certain circumstances.

Council has adopted a Control of Open Burning Policy which defines the circumstances, under which approvals may be issued for the burning of vegetation in Dungog Shire.

General Approval (Where no permit is required)

Generally, landholders in the following land zonings may burn vegetation on their properties under certain conditions without obtaining a permit from the Council under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation.

RU1 (primary production)

R5 (large lot residential)

E3 (environmental management)

E4 (environmental Living)

E1 (national parks and nature reserves)

RU1 (primary production)

RU3 (forestry)

The conditions that apply are:

  • Vegetation must have accumulated on the subject land during the normal use of that land. ie not brought to the land from another land parcel.
  • An open fire must not be less than 25 metres from any dwelling.
  • Adjacent property owners must be given 24 hours notice (verbal or written) of an intention to burn.
  • An open fire must be supervised at all times.
  • All combustible material within a 4.5 metre radius of the fire must be removed.
  • Burning should only take place when weather conditions are calm and predicted to remain so.
  • Burning should not cause a smoke hazard.
  • The lighting of open fires is not permitted before 8.00am or after 4.00pm.
  • Approval to burn does not apply during proclaimed ‘No Burn Days’ and a ‘Total Fire Ban’.
  • Land managers/owners must contact the Rural Fire Service or Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), depending on the fire district location of the property,  prior to lighting.
  • Approval to burn in the open from Fire and Rescue NSW (where the property is located within the FRNSW fire district) is required all year round.
  • Approval to burn in the open from New South Wales Rural Fire Service is required during the Statutory Bush Fire Danger Period.
  • Approval to burn under this Policy is only for the purpose of waste disposal of dead and dry vegetative material.  An ‘approval to burn’ does not mean approval to burn for bushfire hazard reduction or clearing of vegetation other than clearing for agricultural purposes as prescribed in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

Circumstances where a Permit is Required

Generally, open burning in the following land zonings is prohibited  and no General Approval (exemption) applies.

  • R1 (general residential)
  • RU5 (village)
  • B2 (local centre)
  • B4 (mixed use)
  • IN1 (general industrial)
  • SP2 (infrastructure)
  • RE1 (public recreation)
  • RE2 (private recreation)

Property owners in these zonings who desire to burn vegetation in the open should consult Council to discuss their waste disposal options. Council may only consider issuing a permit within these zones where a property exceeds 4000sqm in size and after considering the following matters:

  • Whether burning in the open or in an incinerator is the most practicable means as are necessary to prevent or minimise air pollution.
  • The potential for smoke impacting on any person having regard to wind direction, weather conditions, and the length of time that the material being burnt is likely to burn,
  • Whether reasonable measures have been taken to ensure that the material being burnt is not wet,
  • That the material is suitable for disposal by burning, having regard to possible effects on human health and the environment.


The following activities are exempt from any requirement to obtain approval.

  • to cook or barbecue in the open, or to light, maintain or use a fire for recreational purposes such as camping, picnicking, scouting or other similar outdoor activities, so long as only dry seasoned wood, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas or proprietary barbecue fuel (including a small quantity of fire starter) is used,
  • to burn vegetation, in the course of carrying on agricultural operations, on premises on which the vegetation grew, including  the burning of vegetation for the purposes of clearing (other than for construction), the burning of stubble, orchard prunings, diseased crops, weeds or pest animal habitats on farms or the burning of pasture for regenerative purposes.
  • to burn anything for the purposes of the giving of instruction in methods of fire fighting by any of the following persons when acting in his or her official capacity:
  1. an officer or member of a fire fighting authority (within the meaning of the Rural Fires Act 1997 ),
  2. a fire control officer (within the meaning of the Rural Fires Act 1997 ),
  3. an industrial fire control officer
  • to burn anything under the authority of, and in accordance with, a bush fire hazard reduction certificate issued under the Rural Fires Act 1997
  • to burn anything in an incinerator that is authorised or controlled by a licence under the Act, or
  • to burn anything in an incinerator that is equipped with a primary and secondary furnace, and is designed, maintained and operated in a manner that ensures the maintenance of appropriate temperatures for the complete combustion of anything that the incinerator is designed to burn and prevents the escape of sparks or other burning material, and is equipped with suitable equipment that is designed, maintained and operated for the purposes of controlling air impurities in the exhaust gas once the incineration process has been completed, and is not installed in a residential building comprising home units, flats or apartments.
  • to burn air impurities by the process known as flaring if the flare is designed, maintained and operated so as to prevent or minimise air pollution.

Other Fire Permits Required

Property owners should determine whether their land falls within the fire districts of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) or Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

RFS fire district

During the Bush Fire Danger (usually 1 October to 31 March) burning in the open will also require a Fire Permit issued by the RFS. For further information regarding Open Burning, please contact Lower Hunter Office on 02 4015 0000  or email

Fire and Rescue NSW - Fire Districts

A fire permit is required for burning in the open all year round from FRNSW for properties in their fire district. Permits are generally issued by the relevant FRNSW Station Commanders.

For any enquiries contact FRNSW Bushfire  and Aviation on 02 8741 5489, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm  or email