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Open burning complaints

Smokey fires are the main reason people call the Pollution Hotline. There are different rules for urban properties and rural. Learn about best practice when carrying out an open burning.

Practices to prevent excessive smoke

  • Burn only dry, seasoned material. Increased moisture content affects the heat of combustion and increases the likelihood of smoke. Allow two days fine weather before burning. 
  • Don't light fires in wind speeds greater than 10 knots - Beaufort scale 3 (leaves and the smallest twigs move in the wind). The ash produced on the fire is more likely to be blown about and the discharges will travel further in high wind conditions. 
  • Where possible, stack material to be burned to allow plenty of airflow into the base of the fire to aid efficient burning.
  • Don't light fires when there is likelihood of an inversion layer, for instance when the air is cool and still such as in the evening or early in the morning. Dispersion of smoke is restricted when inversion conditions exist. The smoke will tend to hang about and not rise. 
  • Any fire should be at least 50m from any road other than a highway and 100m from any highway or dwelling house on an adjoining property or National Park boundary.

Always check with your local district council to ensure fire bans or fire restrictions are not in place.

For more information on indoor and outdoor burning, please visit our air pollution page.