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Open-air fires local law adopted by Council

Published: 21 June 2022

Following extensive community and agency consultation, Council has adopted new open-air fire regulations which will come into effect on 1 July 2022.

The local law was adopted at last night’s Council meeting and details the regulations for open-air fires - commonly known as ‘burning off’ – outside of the declared fire danger period.     

The Open Air Fires Local Law aims to provide adequate provision for fuel reduction and fire prevention while discouraging unnecessary smoke health hazards.

This new law will provide the community with more opportunities to reduce bushfire risk through burning-off while ensuring public safety remains a key priority.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Councillor Jeff Springfield said he believed the new local law reflected the community’s feedback received during the consultation period.

“We listened to the community and made several changes before the adoption of this new local law,” Cr Springfield said.

“The proposal initially had a restriction on open air fires on public holidays however we have scrapped this after looking at community feedback and open-air fires can now take place on public holidays.

“We also changed the days residents are allowed to burn-off – this is changing from Saturday to Sunday on weekends.

“Residents raised concerns about smoke so the distances to buildings/fencelines have been increased in this local law to take in account smoke amenity concerns when residents complete burning off.

“The proposal originally included a 25-metre clearance distance, but we listened to the community and this has now been amended to a 12 metre clearance distance.

“We recognise that there is a wide-range of opinions within our community concerning how this local law should best operate. Some residents would like the freedom to burn off any day whilst others wish for no burning off at all. It is our hope that this new local law will strike the balance between all the variety of views that have been communicated with us.”

The local law renews focus on:

•          Smoke impacts on community

•          Bushfire fuel reduction and property preparation

•          Burning off timeframes

•          Burning off in townships

•          Environmental impacts

As part of the local law, the Shire will be divided into three zones with appropriate open-air fire regulations, rather than the previous rules where regulations were based on zoning and land size.

In the Urban and Township Zone, burning off is only allowed with a permit.

In the Bushland and Peri-Urban Zone and the Rural Zone, if criteria is met, a permit for burning off may not be required.  

July will be declared a ‘no burn month’ throughout the Shire. This means burning-off will be prohibited across the entire shire throughout the month.

This change aims to reduce hazardous smoke caused from burning wet material. This is intended to encourage an uptake of alternative methods of waste disposal during these wetter months and reduce smoke impacts over the school holiday period.

To view the new local law, visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/adopted-open-air-fires-local-law

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