Incorporating the Snowy Valleys Council formally Tumut and Tumbarumba Local Government Areas

Permit Rules

Fire permits

This covers the issuing of fire permits for lighting fires in Rural Fire Sevice Districts (RFS) and NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Fire Districts under the Rural Fires Act 1997.

Who can issue a permit?

Permits to light fires in Rural Fire Service (RFS) Fire Districts can only be issued by the RFS. Permits may be issued by an Authorised Permit Issuing Officer for the area where the fire is to be lit.

Permits to light fires in NSWFB Fire Districts can only be issued by the NSW Fire Brigades.Permits may be issued by the Station Commander (Officer in Charge) of the station responsible for the area where the fire is to be lit, or an officer in the chain of command above the Station Commander.

Note: Local councils can no longer issue permits.

Who has to have a permit?

Anyone who lights a fire:

§            that is likely to be dangerous to any building at any time of year, or

§            for the purpose of land clearance or for burning a fire break during a bushfire danger period,

has to have a permit.

Exception: Public authorities (such as local councils or government departments) do not need to have a permit.

Hazard reduction burns

Before issuing a permit for a hazard reduction burn the issuing officer must sight either:

§            a bushfire hazard reduction certificate, or

§            a written approval from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) or Local Council.

Other burning activities

In cases where burning is not for the purpose of hazard reduction, other environmental approvals may be required, as summarised in the table below:

Burning activity


Type of environmental approval required


Who issues the approval


Pile burn for purposes other than hazard reduction.


Control of burning approval


Local Council/EPA




Control of burning approval


Local Council/DEC*


Burning of windrows


DA, Control of burning approval


Local Council/DEC*


Agricultural burning of material such as stubble, sugar cane, orchard pruning or diseased crops


Not required




Burning in an incinerator


Control of burning approval


Local Council/DEC*


Burning domestic waste


Control of burning approval (not permitted in some areas)


Local Council/DEC*


Burning to demolish a building or other building materials 


Control of burning approval (not permitted in some areas)


Local Council/DEC*


Burning to destroy sawmill waste material 


DA, Control of burning approval


Local Council/DEC*


Lighting fires to produce charcoal


Control of burning approval


Local Council/DEC*


Burning animals that have died or have died due to disease


Not required




Camp fire for cooking or heating


Not required




Burning of tyres (except for the purpose of giving firefighting instruction)






Burning of coated wire






Burning of paint containers and residues






Burning of solvent containers and residues






Burning of treated timber






Burning to clear native vegetation


Approval under the Native Conservation Act


Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources/Local Council


*These approvals are only required in areas listed in the schedules in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Control of Burning) Regulation 2000.

Note: The Rural Fires Act Section 89 state a fire permit must not be issued unless

§            a bushfire hazard reduction certificate has been issued, or

§            any approval, consent or authority required for the purpose under the Environmental Planning Assessment Act 1979 or any other law has been given

What else should you consider before lighting the fire?

It is your responsibility as the permit holder to ensure that the fire:-

§            is consistent with the relevant bushfire management plan;

§            can be contained and controlled within the specified area;

§            will not contain toxic materials, such as rubber tyres, plastics, paint, etc; and

§            will not cause an air pollution problem by producing excessive amounts of smoke.

You must also check:

§            whether an appropriate authority either the Commissioner of the RFS or the Commissioner of the NSWFB has issued a notice banning the issue of permits because of the seriousness of the bushfire danger in the area;

§            whether a no burn day has been declared;

§            whether a total fire ban is in force; and

§            the expected weather conditions.

How long does a permit last?

A permit lasts for a maximum of 21 days, but a shorter period can be specified on the permit.

Can a permit be cancelled or suspended?

A permit can be cancelled or suspended at any time.

To cancel or suspend a permit the holder of the permit must be given notice in writing, unless the issuer of the permit is of the opinion that weather conditions are conducive to the outbreak or spread of a bushfire in which case the permit holder can be notified orally.

Permits are automatically suspended during:

§            total fire bans;

§            and no burn days.

Unless a permit has expired, it may be used after the lifting of a total fire ban or no burn notice.

Who do you have to notify?

The Permit Holder must give at least 24 hours notice of intention to burn to all occupants of adjoining land and to the local fire station or the Fire Control Officer in Rural Fire Districts.

Adjoining lands includes land separated from the Permit Holder’s land by a road, lane or waterway, whether fenced or not. If the land is not occupied, the owners of the land must be notified.

The notice may be either written or verbal and must include details of the location, purpose and time of fire proposed to be lit.

What conditions apply to the Permit?

The Permit Issuing Officer may add any conditions deemed as necessary but all permits have standard conditions that are listed on the permit form, such as a minimum of one adult always in attendance, the permit must be carried by the holder at all times etc.