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Pile and Hazard Reduction Burning Guide for Megalong Valley

Do you;

  • Want to burn a pile of dead vegetation – see Pile Burning standards below.

  • Want to burn an area of vegetation to reduce the bush fire hazard to your property or a neighbour's - see Hazard Reduction.

It is illegal to burn any of the following in NSW;

  • Tyres

  • Treated timber (CCA or PCP)

  • Coated wire

  • Paint containers and residues

  • Solvent containers and residues


During the Bushfire Danger Period (usually from the 1st October to 30th March each year) or if the fire is likely to be dangerous to any building, a separate Fire Safety Permit from the RFS is also required.

Under Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010, a standing approval to burn dead and dry vegetation has been given by the Blue Mountains City Council for properties zoned as, Primary Production Small Lots (RU4), and by Lithgow City Council for properties greater than 4,000m2 zoned as RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4 or RU5. outside the Bush Fire season, for more information see;

RFS Pile Burning Standards https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/13323/Standards-for-Pile-Burning.pdf

Lithgow City Council http://council.lithgow.com/open-burn-policy/

Youtube - Safe Pile Burning Video

NSW RFS/Fire and Rescue Standards for pile burning


This standard provides a procedure for the construction of vegetation piles in order to allow safe and efficient burning.

  • Material that is to be burnt must only be vegetation from the locality, not household or building material such as plastics, wooden pallets or cardboard boxes (please note it is illegal to burn treated timbers or tyres any where in NSW)

  • Construct long and wide piles rather than excessively high piles. Piles that are too high produce more intense heat and retain heat for longer

  • Piles should not be greater than 2m in length or width, and must not be greater than 1.5m high

  • Logs over 150mm in diameter should not be added to piles - instead they should be laid on the ground to prevent erosion and provide habitat

  • If practical, place vegetation in an area where it will receive direct sunlight to allow the pile to dry out

  • The fire must be 20m from the nearest building

  • All material must be dead and dry before being burnt

  • No soft green weeds (such as wandering Jew, grasses, chick weed) should be added to a pile burn. These are most effectively disposed of by composting.
    Woody weeds such as lantana and privet are suitable. All noxious weeds must be treated according to the guidelines in the Noxious Weeds Act 2003

pile burn image


The law requires at least 24 hours notice of the location, purpose, period and time of the proposed fire to be lit has been given to:

a. the owners or occupiers of all land contiguous to, or that is separated by a road, laneway or waterway from the land on which the fire is to be lit;

b. any other property owner or occupier who may be inconvenienced by the fire;

c. The Rural Fire Service (Blue Mountains Fire Control Centre at Katoomba) Ph 4784-7444. They may also request you ring them 1 hour prior to lighting the fire and again after the fire has been extinguished

d. Also please call Megalong Valley RFS, Brigade Captain, Robert, Ph 4787-5691 or Senior Deputy, Mark on Ph 024787-9162.


  • The local fire danger rating must be checked prior to lighting the fire, and the fire must not be lit if the bush fire danger rating is at 'very high' or above (unless authorised in a fire safety permit);

  • Before lighting the pile, ensure that you have suitable tools handy (rakes and shovels) to conduct the burn and control any possible spot fires;

  • Ensure that there is sufficient water to extinguish the burn;

  • Ensure that you wear protective clothing such as heavy cotton pants, a long sleeve shirt, leather work boots, work gloves and a wide-brimmed hat;

  • Accelerants (such as petrol) must never be used in the pile;

  • Disturb the pile immediately prior to lighting to scare away animals such as lizards and snakes which may be taking refuge in the pile;

  • Supervise the burn constantly after lighting to ensure there are no flare ups in surrounding vegetation;

  • Completely extinguish the pile immediately after the burn is finished. The spreading of burnt material after the burn also assists in allowing for smouldering material to be extinguished.

If multiple piles are to be burnt, burn only one pile at a time unless adequate resources and operators are present at each pile. You should also give consideration to the amount of smoke being produced if multiple piles are being burnt.


Hazard reduction burning is usually undertaken by the RFS. Please contact us for advice or assistance with hazard reduction burning.

To undertake a hazard reduction burn, an environmental approval (Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate (HRC)) is required from your local RFS office. There is no charge for a HRC. HRCs can also be issued for slashing of vegetation for bush fire hazard reduction purposes.

Application form for a hazard reduction certificate - http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/13319/Application-Form-Bush-Fire-Hazard-Reduction-Certificate.pdf

Application instructions - "http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/13320/Application-Instructions-Bush-Fire-Hazard-Reduction-Certificate.pdf

Other Approval For Burning Native Vegetation

Burning standing native vegetation is considered 'clearing' under the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and your CMA will need to determine whether your burn triggers the need for an approval. They will consider the potential impact of your proposed burn or mechanical clearing activity on native vegetation, biodiversity, waterways or important cultural heritage sites.

Contact your local Catchment Management Authority (CMA) for advice on whether you need an approval for burning native vegetation and how to obtain an approval.




Youtube - Safe Pile Burning - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmLgjWKHERg