Smoke complaints - Shoalhaven City Council
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Burning off

A permit is not required from Council if you are only burning dry vegetation for domestic purposes such as yard maintenance. A responsible person does need to tend to the fire at all times. You should also consider your neighbours so any smoke does not cause them a nuisance. A minimum of 24 hours notice is required.

A quick guide to your responsibilities when lighting a fire

Commercial operators, however will not be granted consent to burn waste that's a by product of their business, for example tree surgeons. You are encouraged to recycle, mulch or dispose of your waste to a licenced waste facility.

 A permit to burn is always required from these agencies during the bushfire danger period

 ie 1st September to 31st March

People who burn anything by open fire, or an incinerator have a legal responsibility to prevent or minimise air pollution.

Reducing wood smoke

Dont let your heater cause a smoke nuisance: 
  • Always burn small logs of aged, dry hardwood – unseasoned wood has more moisture which makes a heater smoke. 
  • Store wood under cover in a dry ventilated area - freshly cut wood needs to be stored for 8-12 months.
  • Never burn rubbish, driftwood or treated or painted wood, which can pollute the air and can be poisonous.
  • Use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.   
  • Stack wood loosely in your firebox so air can circulate. 
  • Keep the flame lively and bright; your fire should only smoke for a few minutes when you first light it and when you add extra fuel. 
  • Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15-20 minutes after reloading. Not letting your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  • Check your chimney regularly – if there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
  • Clean the chimney every year to prevent creosote build up.  
  • Creosote is a sticky black residue that can build up in your chimney—it restricts air flow and makes your fire harder to start. A creosote-clogged chimney can spill smoke into your room when you open the heater, and even catch fire, putting your home at risk.

For more information visit:
Office of Environment and Heritage (new window) or
Environment Australia (new window)

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