Backyard burning

Backyard burning without council approval is only permitted in certain areas of the Clarence Valley, and at certain times of the year. 

Who can and cannot burn?

Burning of vegetation without council approval is only permitted on properties that are zoned as industrial, rural or large lot residential and are not located in or adjacent to an urban area (subject to the Rural Fires Act and Regulations).

Generally, this includes all RU1, RU2, RU3 and R5 zonings.

When planning to burn outside residential/urban areas you must notify:   

  • the NSW Rural Fire Service on (02) 6644 5127
  • all adjoining landowners at least 24 hours prior to lighting the fire. 

If you are an adjoining landowner and haven't been notified at least 24 hours prior to a fire being lit, you can put in a written complaint to

You will also need to apply to the NSW RFS for a Fire Permit if lighting fire during the Bushfire Danger Period.

Burning in urban/residential areas  

To prevent air pollution and associated health concerns from backyard fires, burning without council approval is prohibited in residential areas of the Clarence Valley. 

The accompanying legislation can be found in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2022 , which lists Clarence Valley Council in Part 2 and 3 of the regulation.

Under the POEO Clean Air Regulation there is a fine of 50 penalty units for an individual and 100 penalty units for a corporation for breaches of the regulation (a penalty unit is currently $110 per unit i.e. $5,500 for an individual and $11,000 for a corporation).


A burning approval is not required from Council in the following situations:

  • lighting a fire for cooking or recreation such as camping, picnicking.
  • burning of vegetation for carrying out agricultural operations
  • lighting a fire for the purposes for instruction of methods of fire fighting
  • bushfire hazard reduction work under the Rural Fires Act (i.e. hazard reduction work with a hazard reduction certificate issued by the Rural Fire Service).
  • Any burns undertaken or overseen by Rural Fire Service or Fire and Rescue NSW (Council should be notified at least 24hrs prior to the burn).

Any burning in residential areas will also require approval from Fire and Rescue NSW (Local Town Fire Brigade). Contact your local town brigade for further information/requirements.

  Apply for council approval to burn in an urban area