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Using a barbecue in Sydney could lead to jail time and a $5,500 fine

What is a total fire ban?  

A total fire ban means no fires out in the open to prevent a potential blaze from starting. 

You cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open or carry out any activity outdoors likely to cause a blaze. 

Can I use a barbecue or pizza oven?

Using a barbecue or pizza oven which burns solid fuel such as wood, charcoal or heat beads is banned. 

Permits are suspended during the ban but can be used after the restriction is lifted. 

What barbecues are allowed to be used?

You can use an electric barbecue given there is adult supervision and no combustible material within two metres. 

You can use a gas barbecue under the following conditions: 

– Adult supervision

– No combustible material within two metres

– Immediate and continuous supply of water 

– Used within 20 metres of a private dwelling such as a home 

– Is within a designated picnic area and is approved by the council, national parks of state forest 

What are the penalties? 

Persons lighting a fire can incur an on the spot fine of $2,200. 

If the matter is taken to court, they could face 12 years in jail and/or a $5,500 fine. 

A fire started which spreads, hurts a person or damages property or the environment can lead to a $132,000 fine and/or 14 months in jail. 

What are the exemptions during a Total Fire Ban? 

A range of activities may be exempt during the ban such as emergency infrastructure work, bee hive smokers, mining operations, sugar can harvesting, use of fire works or ceremonial fires. 

The exemptions are datailed in the NSW Government Gazette every time a Total Fire Ban is declared.  

Can I apply for a Total Fire Ban exemption? 

If you want to light a fire or carry out an activity which could lead to one, you can check the Government Gazette to see if there is a standard exemption that applies to your situation. 

If the standard exemptions don’t cover your circumstances then you may apply for a specific exemption by filling out a Total Fire Ban application form. 

You will be notified if your application is approved or declined.  


Source: NSW Rural Fire Service 


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