Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

About no burn notices

Bushfire danger season and total fire bans

For what to do during the bushfire danger season (generally from 1 October to 31 March) or a Total Fire Ban see the NSW Rural Fire Service website, or phone 1800 679 737.

No Burn notices

Outside of the bushfire season (generally 1 April to 30 September) the EPA may prohibit the burning of fires in the open or in incinerators by issuing a No-Burn Notice (see section 133 Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997) if it is of the opinion that, because forecast weather conditions, burning is likely to contribute to the build-up of air pollution.

See a sample No Burn Notice.

How will I know when a No Burn Notice is in force?

To find out whether a No-Burn Notice is in force you can:

  • check on the regional air quality index web page; or
  • check the Public Notices section of the Sydney Morning Herald. The No-Burn Notice will be published here on the day that it is in force; or
  • ring the EPA Environment Line on 131 555

Understanding a No-Burn Notice

See a sample No Burn Notice.

  • Section 4 of the No-Burn Notice states the dates that it is in force.
  • The No-Burn Notice applies to all the council areas listed on the Notice. If your council area is listed on the Notice, and the particular burn you want to conduct is not explicitly exempt under the Notice, then you cannot conduct your burn while the Notice is in force.
  • On some occasions, specific hazard reduction burns are exempt from the No-Burn Notice and can therefore be conducted during the period that the No-Burn is in force. However, these burns can only be performed under the conditions listed on the Notice for that particular burn. The decision to exempt these burns involves extensive consultation between EPA and the NSW Rural Fire Service. Generally, the burns that are exempt are those that are both strategically important and logistically difficult and therefore it is critical that they go ahead at that time.
  • Burning in the open for the fighting of fires or for cooking purposes (e.g. barbeques) are not prohibited during a No-Burn Notice.
  • For more information about No Burn Notices contact the EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

Note that the declaration of a Total Fire Ban overrides a No Burn notice for the applicable areas. To check if a Total Fire Ban is in place please contact NSW Rural Fire Service, phone 1800 679 737.

Things to consider when intending to perform an open burn

Throughout the year, permits may be required from the relevant authorities to conduct open burns. If you are considering undertaking an open burn then you need to make sure that you comply with all the relevant legislation and have obtained all the necessary permits.

Authorities that you may need to check with include:

There may also be restrictions placed on burning on particular days which override any permits obtained. Examples of restrictions include No-Burn Notices issued by the EPA or Total Fire Bans issued by the Rural Fire Service. You must check with all the relevant authorities whether any fire restrictions are in force for the period you plan to burn.

Backyard burning

Backyard burning and unauthorised incineration are prohibited at all times in all council areas in the Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle regions, and in other NSW council areas listed in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

Page last updated: 20 October 2016