Fires, burn-offs and permits

Notify fire services

Fire services must be notified of any open air burn off all year round, regardless of obtaining a permit.

You do this by registering online at least two hours before igniting a fire on the Fire Permits Victoria website. If you need to start the burn-off immediately, or don't want to use the online form, you can register the burn-off by calling:

Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) on 1800 668 511

What permits do I need?

During the declared Fire Danger Period or Total Fire Ban Days you must have a written permit from Fire Services Victoria to have an open air fire when it exceeds the requirements set out by the CFA.

A council permit is required when burning is outside the Fire Danger Period and the size of the fire is outside what is permitted for the size of the property:

  • Less than one hectare property: A permit is required regardless of size
  • Greater than one hectare property: A permit is not required if fuel load is less than 4 metres square wide, 4 metres long and 3 metres high (unless the burn is for primary production or broad acre farming purposes)

Fires on private land

The following steps must be undertaken when lighting a fire on private land, regardless of size or whether a permit is required:

  • Burn area must be greater than three metres from the property boundary or any building
  • No flammable material to a distance of at least 3 metres in radius around burn area
  • Not to be lit when the wind speed is greater than 15kph
  • Supervised by an adult at all times with a container of at least 9 litres water or a charged hose
  • Notify neighbours at least 24hrs prior to lighting
  • Notify Fire Services Victoria

You must not burn any of the following:

  • manufactured chemicals
  • rubber or plastic
  • petroleum, oil or derivative thereof
  • paint or receptacle which contains or which contained paint
  • food waste, fish or other offensive or noxious matter
  • explosive material
  • container which may cause an explosion
  • green waste or damp garden refuse including leaves
  • cardboard or newspaper
  • any other material deemed offensive or dangerous by an Authorised Officer of the Council

Permits are free of charge.

More information

Stubble burns

Council does not process applications for stubble burns. Please apply directly on the Fire Permits Victoria website.

Incinerators and backyard fires

Burning off your household or garden waste (organic, wet and green vegetation) in the open or using a backyard incinerator is banned, year round. We will issue an on-the-spot fine of $200 to people who burn fires to dispose of waste, or who light a fire without first obtaining a permit.

This ban prevents fires and protects public health, especially people with breathing difficulties like asthma.

Burning off for fire prevention purposes and to reduce fuel

In more heavily populated residential areas we are encouraging residents to consider burning as a last resort to:

  • Limit the need for CFA volunteers having to attend call outs
  • Limit the need for City staff to attend private property to inspect, and respond to complaints
  • Limit smoke in the environment to ensure the best possible health for the community.

Alternatives to burning off include using your organics bin. When material is too large to fit in your organics bin, green waste can be disposed of free of charge at the Eaglehawk Landfill and Heathcote Transfer Station.

You can burn off to reduce the fuel on your property outside of the Fire Danger Period. If your property is less than a hectare, you require a permit to light a fire outside. If your property is larger than 1 hectare you will only need a permit if the pile of wood and timber that you wish to burn is 4 metres wide x 4 metres long x 3 metres high or larger. 

Can I have an open air fire for cooking or warmth?

Yes you can, however there are particular requirements for it to be regarded as a fire for cooking or warmth to meet the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 and the Greater Bendigo City Council Community Local Law.

A fire that is for cooking or warmth needs to comply with the below criteria:

  • Be contained in a barbecue, pizza oven or other manufactured or properly constructed fireplace of stone, metal, concrete or non-flammable material to contain the perimeter of the fire (a free standing 44 gallon drum or similar does not comply)
  • Be located three metres away from property boundaries or any building or structure and the site must be clear of flammable material for a radius of 3 metres. The fire cannot be located on a veranda or decking
  • Be supervised by an adult at all times while alight and not left unattended at any time
  • Ensure the fire does not cause smoke nuisance to neighbours
  • Only be lit when wind speeds are less than 15 kph (less than 10 kph during the fire danger period)
  • Only be lit with a container of at least 9 litres of water or a charged hose prepared to extinguish the fire if required
  • Be of a size less than 1 square metre and the size and dimensions of solid fuel used are the minimum necessary for the purpose
  • Ensure only solid dry fuel is used including heat beads, briquettes and dry timber (no leaves, garden waste, paper, cardboard or offensive material)
  • Be completely extinguished before the site of the fire is left


Do I need a permit?

  • You will need a Local Laws Permit from Council if the fire is to exceed 1 square metre and the fire is for fuel reduction purposes
  • Council will only issue an Open Air Burn permit outside the Fire Danger Period (FDP)


On Total Fire Ban Days

Not allowed:
All fires including those intended for cooking or warmth are BANNED on Total Fire Ban Days, including solid and liquid fuel barbecues and ovens


Barbecues can be used that are:

  • Permanently fixed structures built of stone, metal, concrete or another non-flammable material designed exclusively for meal preparation and powered by gas or electricity or


  • Gas or electric powered and are designed and commercially manufactured exclusively for meal preparation (including portable barbecues) and when alight are placed in a stable position. Both types of barbeque must meet all of the above specified conditions to comply

The use of incinerators is banned at all times in the City of Greater Bendigo.