FAQs

Camping and Cooking Fires

Can I use my gas BBQ or electric BBQ during the restricted and prohibited burning periods?

Yes, you can use both your gas and electric BBQ year-round

Does this mean I can light a solid fuel camp or cooking fire while camping or picnicking in the bush during the restricted or prohibited burning periods?

No, this policy only applies to the occupier’s land of their permanent place of residence for the purposes of camp or cooking fires.

How big can my camp or cooking fire be?

For the purpose of the policy a camping or cooking fire is determined to be a fire no greater than 1 square meter in area with a flame height of no more than 1 meter. Anything greater than this will be known as a bonfire or burning of the bush and therefore illegal during the mentioned period of the camping and cooking fire policy.

Can I now use my wood fired BBQ or solid fuel Weber or other outdoor cooking appliances at my house during the restricted and prohibited burning periods?

Yes, but only if you comply with all requirements of the camping and cooking fire policy and the fire danger rating on the day is below 'very high'.

Can I get a permit to burn the bush during the prohibited burning period?

No, permits will not be issued to burn the bush during the prohibited burning period.

Does the camping and cooking fire policy apply at the Sandy Cape camping ground?

No, the lighting of fires at Sandy Cape is controlled under the Sandy Cape Code of Conduct which you can obtain from the Turquoise Coast Visitor Centre in Jurien Bay, the Sandy Cape Recreation Reserve Campground caretakers, or at www.visitturquoisecoast.com.au.

Does the camping and cooking fire policy apply at the Shires short stay reserves?

No, the camping and cooking fire policy does not apply to the Shires short stay reserves. No campfires or cooking fires other than a purpose-built gas or electric cooking appliance can be used at the Shires short stay reserves at any time of the year.

Does the camping and cooking fire policy apply in the national parks and reserves managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service?

No, this policy only applies to the occupier’s land of their permanent place of residence for the purposes of camp or cooking fires within the Shire of Dandaragan.

Does this mean that I can now use my wood fired pizza oven during the restricted and prohibited burning periods?

Yes, but only if you comply with all requirements of the camping and cooking fire policy and the fire danger rating on the day is below 'very high'.

Can I use my fire pit or solid fuel cooking implement during a total fire ban?

No, during a total fire ban all solid fuel cooking or camping fires are prohibited. Only gas or electric cooking appliances are permitted during a total fire ban.

If I am using a campfire or solid fuel cooking implement at my place of residence and I start a fire can I still be held accountable for that?

Yes, the onus lies on the owner of the camping or cooking fire not only to comply with the camping and cooking fire policy but also to ensure that there is no danger of the fire escaping. The application of the camping and cooking fire policy in no way effects that responsibility.

How can I check the current fire danger rating to ensure that I am complying with the camping and cooking fire policy?

Western Australian fire danger ratings are published daily on the Bureau of Meteorology web pages under Western Australia fire danger ratings.

Total Fire Bans

How will I know if a Total Fire Ban has been declared?

By visiting the Emergency WA website 
By calling 13 DFES (133 337)
By calling the TFB Hotline 1800 709 355
By listening to ABC local radio and other media outlets
By following DFES on Twitter
By following DFES on Facebook 

Who is responsible for declaring Total Fire Bans?

Total fire bans (TFB) are called by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services based on weather conditions and fire fighting capability.

What is a Total Fire Ban?

A Total Fire Ban is declared on days of extreme weather or when widespread fires are seriously stretching firefighting resources.

How long is a TFB in place?

When declared, Total Fire Bans are usually in place for the whole day - from midnight to midnight.

The need for the ban to remain is assessed throughout the day and the ban may be revoked during the day if the forecast weather does not eventuate or if weather conditions ease.

Can I have a campfire, bonfire or light a fire for warmth or comfort during a total fire ban?

No. During a Total Fire Ban it is illegal to: light, maintain or use a fire in the open air, or carry out any activity that causes or is likely to cause a fire in the open air.

Can I light a fire to burn off vegetation on my property during a Total Fire Ban?

No.

Can I light a fire in my backyard, such as in a fire pit or a 44 gallon drum during a Total Fire Ban?

No.

Can I have a fire in a forest reserve or a National Park Reserve during a Total Fire Ban?

No.

Can I use a kettle BBQ (Weber) during a Total Fire Ban?

You cannot use any barbecue or cooker that requires solid fuel such as charcoal in the open air, this includes charcoal kettle barbecues.

Can I use a chainsaw, brush cutter/whipper snipper, mower or slasher during a Total Fire Ban?

This depends on how the equipment you are operating is powered.

Internal Combustion Engine:
The operation of any equipment powered by an internal combustion engine on bush, crop, pasture or stubble (this includes grass/lawns in residential areas) is not allowed. There are exceptions where the operation of the equipment is part of an agricultural activity and the local government hasn’t implemented a ban on agricultural activities (Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban) during the Total Fire Ban.

There are further exceptions where the activity is occurring in the course of trade or commerce (i.e. a business – including a lawn mowing business) or by (or on behalf of) a public authority, and the conditions prescribed in the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 are met , which includes notifying DFES.

Electric / Battery powered:
You can use equipment or machinery provided it is not powered by an internal combustion engine. However, mowing dry grass, or undertaking other activities that may cause sparks can present a potential fire hazard and should be delayed.

Can I use an angle grinder, welder, charring, soldering or gas cutter or any other cutting tool outside during a Total Fire Ban?

No, the use of a welder or power operated abrasive cutting discs of any kind is not allowed in the open air during a Total Fire Ban due to the risks of sparks starting a fire. This includes grinding, soldering, gas cutting and all other forms of “hot works”.

There are exceptions where the activity is occurring in the course of trade or commerce (i.e. a business); or by (or on behalf of) a public authority and the conditions prescribed in the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 are met which includes notifying DFES.

Can I use power tools during a Total Fire Ban?

Yes, as long as the power tool does not create a spark.

Can I use fireworks during a Total Fire Ban?

Only licensed pyro-technicians can use fireworks on a Total Fire Ban day, the conditions prescribed in the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 are required to be met (see fire works fact sheet on the following link), which includes notifying DFES between 24 hours and 30 minutes before the activity is carried out.

For information about fireworks event permits in general, please contact the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Can I smoke cigarettes, cigars or tobacco during a Total Fire Ban?

Yes, if you dispose of it appropriately. Discarding a burning cigarette, cigar, tobacco or match is considered to be an activity that is likely to cause a fire. Under the Bush Fires Act 1954, inappropriate disposal of a burning cigarette, cigar, tobacco or match during the Restricted and Prohibited Burning Times attracts a penalty of $5,000.

During a Total Fire Ban, any person who disposes of burning tobacco, or a burning cigarette, cigar or match in circumstances that is likely to set fire to the bush, including by throwing it from a vehicle, may receive an infringement of $1,000, or upon conviction receive a penalty of of $25,000 and/or 12 months in jail.

Can I undertake harvesting activities during a Total Fire Ban?

Yes. Agricultural activities can continue during a Total Fire Ban, if the local government has not implemented a ban on agricultural activities by issuing a Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban.

However, you must ensure your vehicle is mechanically sound, and the exhaust system is in good condition, free of gas leaks and has a spark arrester which is well maintained AND all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent a bushfire starting.

In addition, your local government may require a firefighting vehicle to be onsite during harvesting operations.

Can I drive a vehicle (4WD, motorbike or quad bike) where the vehicle will be in contact with vegetation during a Total Fire Ban?

No. During a Total Fire Ban you cannot use a vehicle in bush or a paddock. You can only use a vehicle on a road, track or in an area which has been sufficiently cleared of flammable material. There are exceptions where the activity is occurring as part of an agricultural activity, if the local government hasn’t implemented a ban on agricultural activities (Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban) during the Total Fire Ban.

Can I have a BBQ in my local park during a Total Fire Ban?

Yes. However, only under strict conditions. There must be a dedicated area set aside by the authority responsible for the park. You can only use an electric or gas appliance that has an enclosed flame.

All flammable material must be cleared five metres around the appliance. Short green grass less than five centimetres in height, paving stones, bricks and reticulated gardens are not considered to be flammable. You cannot burn solid fuels such as wood or charcoal in the open air (e.g. you cannot use a wood/charcoal fuelled Weber type bbq in the open air).

Can I use equipment and machinery (e.g. bobcats, excavators, bulldozers etc) during a Total Fire Ban?

You can only use this equipment and machinery in a suburban or built up areas where the area is sufficiently cleared of flammable material to prevent a fire escaping. There are exceptions where the activity is occurring as part of an agricultural activity, if the local government hasn’t implemented a ban on agricultural activities (Harvest Vehicle Movement Ban) during the Total Fire Ban.

There are further exceptions where the activity is occurring in the course of trade or commerce (i.e. a business) or (by or on behalf of) a public authority, and the conditions prescribed in the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 are met which includes notifying DFES.

However, if possible, postpone this activity on a Total Fire Ban declared day to minimise the risk of fire.

Can I use an incinerator during a Total Fire Ban?

No.

How do I apply for a Total Fire Ban exemption?

Anyone seeking to apply for an exemption should visit the Total Fire Bans Exemption page on the DFES website. 

However, any activity that is carried out for the purpose of preventing an immediate and serious risk to the health or safety of a person or livestock is permitted providing all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent a bushfire danger.

Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans 

Who is responsible for declaring harvest and vehicle movement bans?

A Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban is a ban that individual local governments are responsible for issuing under the Bush Fires Regulations 1954 Section 38A, and/or Section 24C.

When are harvest and vehicle movement bans put into place?

Local government will impose the ban when their Chief Bushfire Control Officer and fire weather officers are of the opinion that the use of engines, vehicles, plant or machinery during the prohibited burning times or the restricted burning times or both is likely to cause a fire or contribute to the spread of a bushfire.

How long will a harvest and vehicle movement ban remain in place?

A Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban may be imposed for any length of time but is generally imposed for the ‘heat of the day’ periods and may be extended or revoked by the local government should weather conditions change.

How will I know when a harvest and vehicle movement ban has been declared?

The Shire of Dandaragan will place a notification of a harvest and vehicle movement ban on its webpage and also on its Facebook page 

Can I receive an automatic SMS message to my phone advising of a harvest and vehicle movement ban?

The Shire of Dandaragan offers an automatic SMS messaging system to notify of harvest and vehicle movement bans. Complete the Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban notification form and return to council@dandaragan.wa.gov.au.

What movement is permitted during a harvest and vehicle movement ban?

During a Harvest and Vehicle Movement ban the Shire permits:

  • Movement of Vehicles on “gazetted roads” (as described in Bush Fires regulation 24A(1) and Road Traffic Act 1974 section 5.1)).
  • Vehicle movement on a road or driveway that provides the most direct safe access to or a parking facility at, any residential, farming or business premises, if the area has been sufficiently cleared of inflammable material to prevent the escape of fire.
  • Vehicle movement for the purpose of prevention or attendance of an immediate and serious risk to the health or safety of a person or livestock where all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent the use or operation from causing a bush fire – this includes, but not limited to, the presence of sufficient firefighting resources and use of diesel powered vehicles only.
  • Vehicle movement involved in direct firefighting operations.
  • Vehicle movement and works by Western Power or approved contractor undertaking essential service restoration where all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent the use or operation from causing a bush fire – this includes, but not limited to, the presence of sufficient firefighting resources and use of diesel powered vehicles only.

What can't I do during a harvest and vehicle movement ban?

Harvesting operations are not permitted.

Any “hot works” (e.g. welding, grinding, cutting, heating, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, combustible engines etc.) in the “open air” are not permitted.

Other – Use or operation of any engine, vehicle, plant, equipment or machinery in the area likely to cause a bush fire or contribute to the spread of a bush fire.