Blue Mountains City Council

Open Air Burning
Open Air Burning

Burning of tyres, paint, solvent residues, coated wire and treated timbers is prohibited.



Open Burning in the Blue Mountains

Open burning (sometimes referred to as backyard burning or pile burning) is defined as the act of burning anything in the open air, and is regulated across the State of New South Wales by the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010.

The following information does not pertain to fires used for cooking or recreational purposes (defined as camping, picnicking, scouting or similar outdoor activities) which are permissible as long as only dry seasoned wood or a proprietary barbeque fuel is used and there is an area of at least 2m around the fire clear of any combustible material.

The intention of the Regulation is to manage the air pollution issues associated with burning, with a view to protecting local and regional air quality, local amenity and human health. Open burning is therefore restricted in the Blue Mountains and strongly discouraged within or close to built up areas.

The Regulation only allows Council to approve the burning of dead and dry vegetation in the Blue Mountains area, and applications to burn any other material will be rejected. Building wastes, plastics and other garbage are not to be burnt at any time. For health and air quality reasons the Regulation explicitly prohibits the burning of other items such as:

  • Tyres
  • Paint and paint containers
  • Solvent residues and containers
  • Coated wire
  • Treated timbers

Consent for burning within the Blue Mountains local government area is given in two ways: a standing approval has been issued to a certain class of person, and an application process exists for all other residents.

The ‘class of person’ approval relates to properties that occur in the following areas:

  • Land wholly or partially zoned Rural Landscape (RU2). This covers all privately owned land in Mount Irvine, Mount Tomah, Mount Wilson and Sun Valley;
  • Land zoned Primary Production Small Lots (RU4) . This covers all privately owned land in Megalong Valley;
  • Land wholly or partially zoned Environmental Management (E3) where the property size is greater than 1000m2. This covers a widely distributed range of larger properties that are typically on the fringes of the City; and
  • The Pulpit Hill precinct. This covers all properties that front Pulpit Hill Road, Explorers Road, Nellies Glen Road and Saywell Road Katoomba.

Residents of these areas do not need to apply to Council every time they wish to burn dead vegetation on their property, however, they must comply with a number of strict conditions that aim to minimise smoke impacts and ensure the fire is managed safely. The approval document, including important conditions that must be followed can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page.

For residents who own or manage land outside of these areas, approval will only be granted subject to an application and site specific assessment of the burning proposal. An individual assessment process has been maintained for all other properties, as burning close to, or within, built up areas has significant potential to cause adverse smoke impacts on the community. An application form can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page or obtained over the counter at Council offices. Assessment of applications can take up to 15 working days, so please be patient and take assessment time into account when proposing a date for the fire.

All approved burning activities must be undertaken in accordance with the Rural Fire Service / Fire & Rescue NSW document Standards for Pile Burning. This document is also available to download from the right hand side of this page, or on the Rural Fire Service website.

It should be noted that approvals relating to open burning are not intended to apply to bush fire hazard reduction works, and will not limit a resident’s ability to undertake genuine hazard reduction activities. See the application guidelines in the downloads section of this webpage to ensure you are submitting the correct type of application for the activity you wish to undertake. Applications for hazard reduction work must be made with the NSW Rural Fire Services.