Fires in open air (Fact Sheet 3)

Fire Prevention

Municipal Fire Prevention Officers carry out property inspections during the Fire Danger Period and if required, issue a Fire Prevention Notice to reduce or remove a fire hazard.

Fire Prevention Notices are sent to the property owners or occupiers where a fire hazard is deemed to exist. The Notice instructs the owner or occupier to do specific work such as cutting grass, removing fine fuels or establishing fire breaks. Failure to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice may result in legal action being taken including the issuing of infringement notices ($1517) or Court action. The maximum penalty for failing to comply with a notice is 120 penalty units ($18,200) or imprisonment for 12 months or both.

Council may also arrange for the works to be completed by contractors and send the owner an account to recover costs.

For more information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document:

Fire Danger Period

The Fire Danger Period is declared by the CFA and restricts the use of fire in the community, to help prevent dangerous fires from starting. The CFA declares the Fire Danger Period for each municipality at different times in the lead up to the fire season, depending on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions. The Fire Danger Period may be declared as early as October and remains in place until the fire danger lessens, which could be as late as May.

The City of Greater Shepparton is located in the Northern Country CFA Fire District. For more information on the Northern Country Fire District, please refer to the CFA website.

Once the Fire Danger Period has been declared, fire restrictions come into force. This means you cannot light a fire unless you have a Schedule 13, a Schedule 14 permit, a Local Laws permit or comply with certain requirements. If you don't obtain a permit or comply with CFA requirements, you could be breaking the law and may be prosecuted.
For more information, please refer to the CFA website.

Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Ban Days

The CFA forecasts Fire Danger Ratings every day for different districts around Victoria to advise the community of how dangerous a fire would be if one started.

Total Fire Ban days may be declared by the CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and could be difficult to control. On a Total Fire Ban Day, there are strict restrictions on what you can and can’t do. If a district has not been declared a Total Fire Ban, fire restrictions may still apply for each municipality.

Permits to Burn during the Fire Danger Period

During the Fire Danger Period, the lighting of fires is restricted under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958. If you wish to light a fire in the open air or conduct a burn, you must obtain a written Schedule 13 permit from Council's Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.

Applications for Schedule 13 Permits for purposes other than essential agribusiness will not be issued.

A Permit Application fee of $69.30 will apply for a Schedule 13 Permit To Burn By a Private Person issued in accordance with the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 and is required to be paid upon collection of approved permit(s). This fee is nonrefundable. The fee is payable once only per fire danger season.

The permit application is valid for a limited time period and is subject to change without notice. After this time extensions will be granted if required. Applicants are to consider all of their permit needs for this period and nominate land planned to be burnt during the declared Fire Danger Period for the purposes of agribusiness.

An application for a Schedule 13 Permit may only refer to land within the Greater Shepparton municipality and is not applicable within National Parks, on protected public land or within any fire protected area under the Forest Act 1958.

To apply for a Schedule 13 permit under the Country Fire Authority Act, download the application form below:

Submit application to Council via:

Fires in Open Air

Greater Shepparton City Councils Community Living Local law No 1 clause 2.5 regulates the lighting of fires in residential, commercial or industrial areas. Permits to burn may be issued depending on a number of considerations including the location and the material to be burnt. Under the Environment Protection Act 1970, it is an offence for commercial or industrial waste to be burnt.

Please note that during the Fire Danger Period, the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 further restricts the lighting of fires.

Community Living Local Law No 1 states:

2.5 Fires in Open Air

  1. No person may on a property in a residential, commercial or industrial area, light or allow to be lit or to remain alight any fire, save and except:
    1. a fire in a barbeque while being used for the purpose of cooking food
    2. a fire in a chimanea, potbelly stove, or small open fires in a suitable container for heating, cooking, cultural or social purposes, which in the opinion of an authorised officer, is not offensive
    3. a fire generated by a tool of trade while being used for the purpose for which it was designed
    4. a fire contained within a properly constructed fireplace within a dwelling for the purpose of heating
    5. a fire lit by a member of the Country Fire Authority in the course of his or her duty or a member of the public who holds a permit under the provisions of the Country Fire Authority Act
  2. On any land within the municipality owned or managed by Council or in any public place it is an offence for a person to light and maintain any campfire or barbeque using solid fuel unless:
    1. the fire is contained in an approved fireplace or trench of at least 30 centimetres deep
    2. the ground and airspace within a distance of 3 metres from the outer perimeter and uppermost point of the fire are clear of all potentially flammable material
    3. the fire does not occupy an area exceeding 1 square metre
    4. the dimensions of any solid fuel used are the minimum necessary for the purpose

Penalty

First offence - 2 penalty units ($200.00)
Second or subsequent offence - 4 penalty units ($400.00)

If you have received a Notice to Comply, please ensure that you follow the compliance details. Failure to comply may result in an infringement being issued.

For more information please contact the Local Laws Unit on (03) 5832 9700.

Burning Offensive Materials

Greater Shepparton City Councils Community Living Local law No 1 lists the type of substances which cannot be burned. Instead, if you have waste that needs to be disposed of you can take it to one of Council's Resource Recovery Centres.

Community Living Local Law No 1 states:

2.6 Burning of Offensive Materials

No person may burn or cause to burn any offensive materials including any substance which contains:

  1. any manufactured chemical
  2. any rubber or plastic
  3. any petroleum or oil
  4. any paint or receptacle which contains or contained paint
  5. food waste

unless in accordance with a licence issued by the Environment Protection Authority or a permit issued by Council.

Penalty

First offence - 5 penalty units ($500.00)
Second or subsequent offence - 10 penalty units ($1,000.00)

If you have received a Notice to Comply, please ensure that you follow the compliance details. Failure to comply may result in an infringement being issued.

For more information please contact the Local Laws Unit on (03) 5832 9700.