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(07) 3810 6666

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Open Air Fires and Smoke Pollution

Smoke and particles from open-air fires can cause a nuisance to neighbours, interfere with normal daily activities and, if severe, can also affect your health. Open air fire and smoke nuisance includes:

  • Smoke from any fire in a residential area
  • Open air fires exceeding 2m in any direction within a residential area
  • The use of fire to dispose of waste from your garden or residence is prohibited.

Local laws regulating open fires

Under Ipswich City Council’s Local Law No. 8 (Nuisances and Community Health and Safety) 2013 a nuisance exists if a fire has been lit and maintained in the open air on premises in a residential area, except where the fire:

  • Has been lit to cook food in or on a gas, wood, or coal fire, barbeque or hangi.
  • Has been authorised under the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990.
  • Only involves the lighting of a match, cigarette lighter, candle, lamp, blow torch or other such device or the use of a bee smoker.

Local laws regulating environmental nuisance

Council is responsible for regulating environmental nuisance within the community. Under Local Law No. 8 (Nuisances and Community Health and Safety) 2013 a nuisance exists if a release of odours, gas, fumes, smoke, dust, particles or aerosols on residential premises has (in an authorised person’s opinion) caused or is likely to give rise to a risk of:

  • Harm to human health or safety or personal injury
  • Property damage or a loss of amenity
  • Environmental harm or environmental nuisance

Council approach to open air fire and smoke nuisance

Once a complaint is received, a Council officer may visit the premises. If the officer reasonably believes that the owner or occupier is required to take specific action to control the nuisance, a notice to comply will be issued. Failure to comply with the notice may result in a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) being issued.

State legislation

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) fulfil a supervisory role in relation to the lighting of fires in the open air and do not allow fires which exceed two meters in any direction without a specific permit. A permit to light a fire is required for any fire that exceeds two meters in any direction and can be acquired free of charge from your local fire warden. The lighting of fires for any purpose is banned during any declared fire ban or state of fire emergency.


In order to reduce potentially harmful or illegal smoke emissions from your property:

  • Recycle or re-use waste where possible instead of burning, which results in more smoke which can be irritating.
  • Regular composting reduces the need for burning in the open air.
  • Take large branches or trees to Council waste tips or transfer stations.
  • Consider Council’s green waste collection service, which can be provided for a small fee.
  • Avoid burning wet or green vegetation, as it smoulders and causes excessive smoke.
  • Give fires maximum air-flow for efficiency and less smoke emissions.
  • Observe weather conditions before lighting fires – preferably choose a calm day.


Should you wish to lodge a complaint regarding open air fire and smoke infringements visit Council's Complaints webpage and follow Council's complaints process.

More information

Open Air Fires and Smoke Facts
Rural Fire Service Fire Warden Finder
Rural Fire Service Fire Bans and Restrictions
Fire Emergency Number: 000