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Council pours cold water on burning off

RESIDENTS keen to burn off should note the changes to a Local Law recently introduced by South Gippsland Shire Council. The changes were introduced to assist people who may suffer respiratory effects as a result of open air burns in their neighbourhood. The recent Morwell mine fire was a reminder of the impacts of smoke on community health. Council has issued the following as a guide:

1.  I am on land zoned Residential, Township, Low Density Residential, Commercial 1 or Mixed Use – Am I allowed to burn off?
– No, Open Air Burning is not permitted on land in the above zones unless it is for:

  • A barbecue, pizza oven or other properly constructed appliance while it is being used for cooking food; or
  • A fire in a manufactured fireplace while it is being used for heating.
  • Any Open Air Burning would require a permit from Council; these will only be issued in very specific circumstances.

2.  I am on land with a different zone to those above
– Yes, Open Air Burning is permitted but people undertaking such activities should adhere to these General Fire Safety Provisions:

  • Give notice to adjoining landowners/occupiers at least 24 hours prior to the burn;
  • Give notice to ESTA (Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority) 2 hours prior to the burn by calling 1800 668 511 (Prevents unnecessary response from fire brigades);
  • Establish a fire break of no less than 3 metres cleared of all flammable material;
  • Ensure the fire is supervised by an adult at all times;
  • Ensure there is sufficient fire protection/suppression equipment available on site at all times and a person capable of using it;
  • Ensure the vegetation to be burnt is dead and dry prior to lighting (no green waste);
  • Ensure at the site of the fire, the wind speed does not exceed 10 kilometres per hour (5 knots).

3.  How do I determine the zoning of my property?
– Contact Council on 5662 9200 to confirm the correct zone of your property and determine what regulations apply to your land.

4.  How do I know if I may be eligible for a permit to burn?
– There may be circumstances where Council will issue a ‘permit to burn’ to landowners that cannot comply with the general open air burning regulations. Council considers these points when assessing permit applications:

  • The size of the land;
  • That the land is in a designated bushfire risk area;
  • That the burn off is strictly for fire prevention purposes only;
  • The ability of the landowner to remove the vegetation via more appropriate methods;
  • The proximity to neighbouring assets and property;
  • The risk of smoke nuisance.

5. How do I apply for a permit to burn?
– You can obtain a ‘permit to burn’ application from Council at 9 Smith Street, Leongatha or download an application at: www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au

6.  What is the cost for a ‘permit to burn’ application?
– The cost of a ‘permit to burn’ application in the 2014/15 Financial Year will be $55. This is a non-refundable fee and does not guarantee that a permit will be issued. Each application will be assessed based upon its merit.  (This applies to all residents and visitors considering Open Air Burning in the Shire, and along with the General Local Law, is not valid during the Declared Fire Danger Period, or on days of Total Fire Ban or Smog Alert. No Open Air Burning may be undertaken during these times.The Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667 can provide information on fire restrictions applying during these periods. South Gippsland Shire is in the West and South Gippsland Fire District.)

Still not quite sure?

Contact Council on 5662 9200 for further clarification.

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