Can I have a fire pit in my backyard?

people sitting around backyard fire pit
It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing fire pit rules and regulations, so we've created this handy guide for backyard fire pit laws for each state in Australia.

Updated September 15, 2021

One of the most common questions we get asked here at MAX Fire Pits is about the legality of backyard fire pits and it’s easy to see why. The regulations and laws governing backyard fire pit usage vary from state to state, and they are often updated without warning, so it’s a bit of a minefield to make sure you are doing the right thing. The last thing you want to do is to illegally start outdoor fires when there are fire ban regulations in place and risk fines from your city council for creating a smoke nuisance.

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing more of us to stay at home and with rolling lockdowns in most residential areas, we are tending to spend more time outside on the weekends, either cooking food or enjoying an outdoor fireplace.

As a result, fire pit usage has grown considerably over the last two years. And while this is great news, there has also been an increase in complaints surrounding open fire pits and smoke from neighbours, especially in more built up areas.

Why do we even need fire pit regulations?

With different states having control over the outdoor fire pit regulations, it’s easy to see why making sure you aren’t doing the wrong thing can be tricky to navigate. As our country is so diverse, changes in climate and environmental concerns vary state to state so a one-size-fits-all mentality is unlikely to be effective. The negative effects of excessive smoke and toxic fumes from a backyard fire pit can affect your neighbours and surrounding streets.

Ultimately, the regulations surrounding fires and fire pits in backyards are in place to protect both the fire pit owner, and the people who live around it. Keeping smoke to a minimum to make sure that people with lung conditions don’t suffer needlessly is one of the key factors, as well as reducing backyard fire pollution in more built up areas.

Can I have a fire pit in my backyard nsw?

With a massive proportion of the population, New South Wales and the Greater Sydney region have a good reason for their regulations. With a lot of residents in built-up urban areas, making sure your backyard fire doesn’t cause any problems is essential. Also, during summer there are many rolling fire bans for commercial and recreational fires, so it’s important to make sure you are on top of the safety risk of building a fire.

Here’s the regulations for Sydney:

Reducing air pollution from fire pits
https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/air/open-burning-reducing-pollution

Don’t let your fire smoulder overnight
https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/air/reducing-wood-smoke-emissions/what-you-can-do-about-wood-smoke-pollution/dont-let-your-fire-smoulder-overnight

Wood smoke brochure
https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/-/media/epa/corporate-site/resources/air/wood-smoke.pdf?la=en&hash=C0A04D2AE062DC81B00A878A80D0BA6A68FAB15B

Friends enjoying a fire pit in NSW backyard

Can I have a fire pit in my backyard victoria?

As one of our coldest southern states, backyard fire pits in Victoria have become more and more popular since the pandemic started. Coupled with the fact that a lot of the suburbs of Melbourne are densely populated it’s not hard to understand how a backyard fire in suburban areas might cause a problem. It’s critical to follow the fire pit laws and make sure you are burning wood safely.

It’s surprising that it’s a little more difficult to find quality information on the regulations for fire pit usage in the Melbourne City area than the other states. Perhaps they are working on upgrading access to this info or working with the local fire department to refine the guidelines. Either way, keeping up to date with current fire bans is important if you don’t want to cop a nasty fine from council.



Here’s a list of resources for the Melbourne area:

City of Melbourne Local Laws
https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/residents/local-laws-permits/Pages/local-laws.aspx

CFA Fire Pit Permits Website
https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/fire-permits

Find Your Fire District
https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/find-your-fire-district

People enjoying a backyard fire pit in Melbourne

Can I have a fire pit in my backyard qld?

With each local council area having ultimate control over the regulations for a recreational fire, there are quite a few different nuances based on where you live.

Here’s a guide for the Brisbane City Council area:

Guidelines for braziers and camping fire pits
https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/clean-and-green/natural-environment-and-water/air-quality/brazier-and-fire-pit-use#guidelines

Minimising smoke from a recreational fire
https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/laws-and-permits/complaints-and-fines/noise-air-light-and-water-complaints/air-and-odour-complaints/smoke-ash-and-fumes-complaints/minimising-smoke-from-backyard-burning

Fire pit smoke, ash and fumes complaints
https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/laws-and-permits/complaints-and-fines/noise-air-light-and-water-complaints/air-and-odour-complaints/smoke-ash-and-fumes-complaints

Young couple sit around their fire pit in Brisbane

What is the best type of wood in a fire pit to reduce smoke?

You only want to use dry, seasoned wood in any outdoor fire. Leaves, green branches or wood with a high moisture content can create a lot of excessive smoke that will annoy your neighbours and cause problems. It’s critical that when planning to light any recreational fires, that you burn wood that is suitable, even it means purchasing from a local supplier.

What happens if my neighbours complain about my fire pits?

The first thing to remember is that everyone has a right to live a comfortable life and be safe in their own homes, so if your smoke is annoying them its always a good idea to take it seriously and try to do the right thing by your neighbours. Maintaining good air quality is especially important with those with underlying health conditions such as asthma or emphysema.

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