Fire prevention and restrictions

Bushfire prevention is a year-round responsibility and there are some simple things to do throughout the year to keep you, your family and your home safe.

Backyard burning, fires and wood smoke

Backyard burning

Domestic and backyard burning is not allowed.

Wood smoke from burning in the open can have an impact on people and the environment and contributes to poor air quality. 

Fires

In a built-up area, charcoal is the only material allowed to be burnt. Fires up to one square metre in area are allowed for cooking and personal warmth.

If you are lighting a fire for cooking or personal warmth, you must make sure:

  • the fire is clear of all flammable vegetation to a distance of at least 4 metres
  • the fire is clear of any type of flammable material in the area around and above the fire.

The use of open fires and barbeques is subject to fire ban regulations and restrictions throughout the fire season.

Download our factsheet on Outdoor heating and cooking(PDF, 1MB)

Wood smoke

When burning, it is illegal to cause a smoke nuisance to neighbours and other persons in the local area. Please be considerate of your neighbours. They may be asthma sufferers, have washing on the line or their windows open for fresh air.

Before lighting a fire, let your neighbours know in advance and use only dry or cured wood, heat beads, dry cardboard and paper. 

Burning wood treated with copper chrome arsenate (perma pine) or other chemical preservatives is illegal.

Reducing environmental impact and complaints

Consider other opportunities such as Council's free green waste drop off, request an additional green organics bin, or compost your green organics in your garden where possible.

Reporting illegal burning

Contact us on 8397 7444. We will need to know the exact address of the property where illegal burning is taking place. If possible, find out what is burning because it may be legal - eg cooking or personal comfort or a woodheater inside the house.

Burning in the open and permits

Outside the fire danger season

Between 1 May and 30 November residents who live in a high fire risk area can apply for a permit to burn agriculture or forestry waste, or for fire prevention or control. Before applying for a permit, check if burning is permitted on your property.

Burning should be considered as a last resort. Consider other opportunities such as Council's free green waste drop off, request an additional green organics bin, or compost your green organics in your garden where possible.

See also:

During the fire danger season

Activities such as using gas appliances for cooking, electric welders and angle grinders and fire for cooking and personal comfort are permitted provided strict conditions are complied with.

Above ground fires such as chiminea, fire drums and braziers are only permitted with the use of permits issued by authorised Council officers and compliance with conditions. Refer to CFS website for what you can and can't do

  • Schedule 9 permit allows activities or fire on days during the Fire Danger Season that are not Total Fire Ban days.
  • Schedule 10 permit allows for emergency activities or fire on Total Fire Ban days.

Wood fire pizza ovens can be operated during the fire danger season if they comply with the CFS Code of Practice for wood fired pizza ovens - fully enclosed four walls and a roof, with spark arrester. 

Apply for a permit to burn during the fire danger season

Contact Council's Fire Prevention Officer on 8397 7313

Fire danger season and total fire bans

The City of Tea Tree Gully falls into the Adelaide Metropolitan and Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Fire Ban Districts.

The fire danger season for Adelaide Metropolitan and Mount Lofty Ranges generally begins each year on 1 December and runs until 30 April. These dates may be subject to change depending on weather conditions each year. Check CFS website for the fire danger season dates 

Total Fire Ban days may be declared during the fire danger season or outside of the season. Higher levels of restrictions apply on these days due to a much higher risk often due to high winds and high temperatures.

View map of Fire Ban Districts and associated fire ban days

CFS Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361.

Prepare your home and property for the fire season

Under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (Section 105F) owners of private land are responsible for all fire prevention practices to protect property on the land and to prevent or inhibit the outbreak or spread of fire and to minimise the threat to human life. The Act empowers Council to direct property owners to take immediate action to reduce the risk of fire. Failure to comply with a notice may result in a fine being issued and Council proceeding to remedy the situation, with the cost being passed onto the property owner.

A formal notice under the Act will be forwarded prior to the fire danger season and Council's Fire Prevention Officer will carry out an inspection of properties. Preparing and maintaining your property is a year-round responsibility.

On larger rural properties, fuel or fire breaks have been found to be the most effective method of containing wild fires. You are responsible for ensuring these breaks are created and maintained around the boundaries of your land. It is recommended that:

  • a fuel break of at least four metres in width be established
  • all grass, weeds and other undergrowth within that break be mowed or slashed to a height not exceeding 10cm
  • you reduce all flammable undergrowth around your dwelling to a nominal distance of 20 metres
  • trees that overhang buildings must be lopped or pruned.

On smaller properties it is recommended that you:

  • mow or slash all grass, weeds and other undergrowth to a height not exceeding 10cm
  • maintain the land in that way until the end of the fire danger season. 

Rules have been introduced to better manage native vegetation, seeking to reduce the impact of bushfire - visit the CFS website

Reducing the amount of vegetation is a critical part of preparing your property in the lead up to and during the fire danger season. There are limits to what you can clear without permission. Prepare your property for the fire danger season by:

  • reduce, remove and maintain vegetation such as long grass, dead branches and fallen leaves, within 20 metres of your home and 5 metres of any sheds and garages
  • mow and maintain any long grass and move bark, mulch, woodpiles and other flammable materials from near your home
  • keep gutters clear of leaves, twigs and debris and screen gutters with metal guards
  • remove hazardous vegetation from around your home and cut back trees and branches overhanging the house (following the native vegetation clearance rules)
  • remove and store combustible mats and outdoor furniture on high risk days and take down hanging baskets that could ignite or blow into windows
  • on larger properties, graze paddocks to reduce fuel load and create a fire break around fence lines
  • have an adequate and reliable independent water supply, not reliant on mains water or mains power.

This bushfire season, remember to be prepared, make a plan and stay informed. Here's what you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe: Visit the CFS website to find out how to prepare your property and your family to plan for the bushfire season and to develop a bushfire survival plan. Don’t forget to include your pets and livestock when preparing for a bushfire.

CFS website - be prepared

Fire restrictions - what you can do

Barbeques and fire risks

During the fire danger season

There are restrictions on the use of barbeques during the fire danger season. If you are planning to use a solid fuel barbeque such as a Weber, you will need a back-up plan if a total fire ban is declared for the day.

Gas, electric or solid fuel barbeques such as Webers, charcoal rotisseries, wood-fired pizza ovens and smokers that use briquettes, charcoal or timber as the heat source can be used during the fire danger season providing:

  • there is a four metre area, cleared of all flammable vegetation, around and above the barbeque
  • a responsible person who can control the fire is in attendance at all times with water or an extinguisher at hand
  • the barbeque is completely extinguished before leaving the area
  • the wood-fired pizza oven complies with the CFS code of practice
On total fire ban days

The use of wood-fired pizza ovens and solid fuel barbeques is not allowed on Total Fire Ban days. Gas and electric barbeques can be used on Total Fire Ban days if:

  • the barbeque is within 15 metres of domestic or commercial premises, or
  • the gas or electric barbeque is a permanent fixture on a Council reserve or in a caravan park and
  • there is a 4 metre area, cleared of all flammable vegetation, around and above the barbeque
  • a responsible person who can control the fire is in attendance at all times with water or an extinguisher at hand
  • the barbeque is completely extinguished before leaving the area.

During the fire danger season there are strict controls on the lighting of fires and the use of certain tools in the open. Refer to the CFS website to find out what you can and can't do during the fire danger season and on total fire ban days.

For exceptional or urgent activities, authorised Council officers can issue a permit to undertake an activity that would not be permitted during the fire danger season or on a total fire ban day.

  • Schedule 9 permit allows activities or fire on days during the Fire Danger Season that are not Total Fire Ban days.
  • Schedule 10 permit allows for emergency activities or fire on Total Fire Ban days.

Contact Council's Fire Prevention Officer on 8397 7313

Council services on fire danger days

Some Council services may be affected on Total Fire Ban Days to ensure the safety of our staff and community. Council will advise on any impacts to services.

Council bushfire mitigation

Council undertakes a variety of bushfire mitigation activities to prepare land under its care and control, and to meet legislative responsibilities in regard to bushfire management ensuring a safe environment for the community.

Council's Bushfire Mitigation Framework 2022 - 2026(PDF, 5MB)  provides direction on how Council will implement bushfire mitigation treatments to reduce the risk and impact of bushfires on our area and community.