District Council of Peterborough

Backyard Burning

Legislation has allowed Councils to control ‘backyard’ burning or burning ‘in the open’ throughout South Australia since 1984. Smoke from burning in the open can be a respiratory irritant and an environmental nuisance and has been the source of a large number of complaints between neighbours.

Controls on burning are imposed under the Environment Protection Act 1993 through the Environment Protection (Burning) Policy 1994.

What is burning in the open?

Essentially, burning in the open is burning outside of a dwelling where products of combustion are released directly into the atmosphere, not through a chimney.

Can I burn on my property?

The Environment Protection Burning Policy stipulates that residents within The Peterborough District Council area are permitted to burn ‘in the open’ on their domestic premises, subject to the following requirements:

  • Only dried gardening prunings, dry paper, dry cardboard or dry timber, can be burnt between the hours of 10.00am and 3.00pm from Monday to Saturday. The fire must not be lit before 10.00am and must be completely extinguished by 3.00pm. Burning is not permitted on Sunday
  • The burning of any wood treated with a chemical preservative or which contain glues or adhesives is not permitted
  • Burning on any street, road or laneway is not permitted

It is important to ensure that the material being burnt is completely dry to ensure a quick, clean burn and thereby minimising the amount of smoke produced from the fire. The burning of damp, wet or green garden prunings or other material is not permitted and can attract an expiation notice.

Please click here to view Council's Burning Policy.

What is a domestic premise?

Domestic premises are those used primarily as a place of residence and include land designated for residential use as shown on the Development Plan pursuant to the Development Act 1993. They also include premises in residential areas used for both residential and other purposes. A vacant block designated for residential use is also classed as a domestic premise in the Environment Protection (Burning) Policy.

Burning on non-domestic premises

Burning on any non-domestic premises is not permitted without a permit from Council. Non-domestic premises include properties zoned for purposes other that residential use, which include Schools, Retail, Commercial, and Industrial sites.

When does the fire danger season begin?

The Peterborough District Council is located within the Flinders fire district. In most years, the fire danger season commences on November 1 and ends at midnight on April 15. However, extremely dry conditions can prompt the season to begin earlier or be extended under the direction of the Chief Officer of SA Country Fire Service. It is important to check with the CFS or Council regularly to verify the fire danger season dates.  (This is the case in 2014, the season starts on 15th October and finishes on 30th April 2015).

Can I burn off during the fire danger season?

No. During the fire danger season, fires in the open are strictly regulated under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005.  Burn-offs are not allowed without a permit. There are also special requirements for using angle grinders, welders, barbecues, chainsaws, brush cutters, mowers, slashers and campfires. Fines of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to two years can be issued for people lighting fires during the fire danger season. On-the-spot fines may also be issued.

Can I light a fire for cooking during the fire danger season?

Yes, fires for this purpose can be lit outside of the above hours, and during the fire danger season providing:

  • The fire is in a properly constructed fire place; or
  • The fire is in a portable cooking appliance; and
  • You have a four-metre cleared space around and above the fire
  • A responsible person in attendance at all times, until the fire is extinguished
  • An adequate agent to extinguish the fire is at hand
  • Only clean, dry timber is used

These fires cannot be lit during a total fire ban, unless a Schedule 10 permit is obtained from Council.

CFS Information Hotline

Should you have queries regarding fire danger season dates or total fire ban information contact the CFS Bushfire information hotline on 1300 362 361 or The Peterborough District Council on 8651 3566.

District Council of Peterborough
108 Main Street, PO Box 121
Peterborough SA 5422
Phone: 08 8651 3566
Fax: 08 8651 3066