Sometimes referred to as backyard burning or pile burning, open burning is the act of burning anything in the open air and is regulated across NSW by the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010. The intention of the Regulation is to minimise air pollution associated with burning. 

Open burning is restricted in the Blue Mountains and strongly discouraged within or close to built up areas. Residents are encouraged to use Council’s green waste services in preference to burning.

What can be approved to be burnt:

  • dead and dry vegetation (seasoned sticks and branches) from plants that grew on the property.

What cannot be burnt at any time:

  • building wastes
  • plastics 
  • general waste/garbage 
  • tyres
  • paint and paint containers
  • solvent residues and containers
  • coated wire
  • treated timbers

Approval for burning within the Blue Mountains local government area is given in one of two ways:

1. A standing (class of persons) approval has been granted to owners or managers of property wholly or partially zoned as Rural Landscapes (RU2), Primary Production Small Lots (RU4), or Environmental Management (E3) where the property size is greater than 1,000m2, as defined by LEP 2015.

See the Approval to a Class of Person to Light and Maintain an Open Fire document for the required conditions.

2. All other property owners or managers need to complete the Application to Light and Maintain an Open Fire form. See the Guidelines for Completing an Application for more information.

Please allow 15 working days for a Council Officer to inspect the proposal and assess the application.

All approved burning activities must be undertaken in accordance with the Rural Fire Service / Fire & Rescue NSW document Standards for Pile Burning. Approvals relating to open burning are not intended to apply to bush fire hazard reduction works. For more information on what type of application you need to submit please view the Guidelines.

The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice prohibits the burning of material cleared under the scheme.

Enquiries and applications for hazard reduction work must be made with the NSW Rural Fire Services.

The above information does not relate to fires used for cooking or recreational purposes (camping, picnicking, scouting or similar outdoor activities), eg campfires. Fires lit for this purpose are only permitted if they comply with the following conditions:

  • only dry seasoned wood (or store bought BBQ fuel) is burnt
  • there is at least 2m around the fire clear of any combustible material, and
  • the fire is contained within a metal drum, store bought fire pit or constructed fire ring.