NSW Fire Restrictions 2021 – What are the rules for Total Fire Ban days?

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is primarily based on information provided by the NSW RFS. It provides general information relating to fire ban restrictions. For specific information relating to your local area, contact your state fire authority.

What is a Total Fire Ban?

A Total Fire Ban (TOBAN) is a declaration by a state fire authority that no open flames are allowed on a certain day for a certain area. These bans generally coincide with the fire danger ratings. However, a Total Fire Ban can be put in place for danger ratings that are on the lower scale due to the increased bushfire risk that comes with open flames.

When is a Total Fire Ban declared?

Total Fire Bans are often declared 1 to 2 days beforehand. However, in emergency situations, state fire authorities may issue a Total Fire Ban on the same day, so it’s important to have this information easily accessible.

What can and can’t I do on a Total Fire Ban day?

There are numerous fire restrictions which come into effect on Total Fire days.
We’ve compiled the answers to your questions regarding what you can and can’t do during fire restrictions.

Can I use a barbeque during a Total Fire Ban?

Only electric or gas barbeques are permitted on Total Fire Ban days, under the following conditions:

  • Your barbeque must be positioned within a certain distance of your home*
  • The barbeque must be under the direct control of an adult, who remains present at all times.
  • An immediate and continuous supply of water
*Refer to your state fire authority for specific restrictions

Can I use my pizza oven during a Total Fire Ban?

When fire restrictions are in place you cannot use a pizza oven which uses solid fuels (wood, heat beads or charcoal).

Can I mow my lawn when there’s a fire ban?

In NSW you’re only allowed to use lawnmowers or grass cutters in suburban areas, yet the surrounds must be clear of flammable materials. When fire restrictions are in place lawn mowers are banned in bushland or high vegetation areas. Other states imply similar restrictions.

Can I use farm machinery on Fire Ban Days?

Operating farm machinery and vehicles on Fire Ban days can be very dangerous, and must not be used unless the following precautions have been met:

  • Avoid driving vehicles through dry grass or bushes
  • Take regular breaks so your machinery doesn’t overheat
  • Routinely check for straw or grass build-up
  • Ensure spark arrestors are maintained

Can I smoke outside on a Fire Ban day?

Smoking cigarettes is allowed. However, flicking a lit cigarette out a car window is illegal regardless of whether there’s a total fire ban in place, and substantial penalties apply.

What is the penalty for lighting a fire during a Total Fire Ban?

If you light a fire during a Total Fire Ban period you will receive an on-the-spot fine and can possibly face jail time, depending on the severity of the crime.

Where can I find out if a Total Fire Ban has been declared?

Does the Fire Ban Checker give me the same Fire Ban information as the Fire Authorities?

Yes of course! Our information is sourced directly from our state fire authorities.

 Feature Photo by Cristofer Jeschke.

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