Burning off, Fire Danger Period, permits and safety

Fire Danger Period

The CFA determines the Fire Danger Period for each municipality in the lead up to the fire season. The decision is based on conditions such as, the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions.

The Fire Danger Period differs each year and in some municipalities it can be declared as early as October. It remains in place until the fire danger lessens, which could be as late as May.

The Fire Danger Period for Nillumbik Shire Council for 2020/2021 was lifted at 1am, Monday 29 March 2021.

For more information about about the Fire Danger Period, please visit the CFA website here.

Burning off in Nillumbik

Burning off is one way you can dispose of vegetation (grass, weeds, branches and leaves) you’ve removed from around your property as part of your fire preparedness activities.

Reducing the level of fuel hazards around your house and property reduces the impact a fire will have and greatly increases the likelihood your property will survive a potentially devastating bushfire.

Burning off (a fire in the open air) on private property is governed by the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, the Summary Offences Act 1966 and Clause 32, Open Air Burning and Clause 33 Large Heap Burning, of the Nillumbik Shire Council Amenity Local Law.

Burning off is prohibited on all properties, regardless of size, during the declared Fire Danger Period. It is an offence under the CFA Act to burn off during the Fire Danger Period without a written permit and can result in a monetary fine or imprisonment.

Properties under 1 acre (0.4ha) cannot apply for a burning off permit until 1 October and until the start of the declared Fire Danger Period.

No fire may be lit or allowed to remain alight on a Total Fire Ban Day, a Smog Alert Day or during the declared Fire Danger Period. 

The CFA declared that the Fire Danger Period for summer 2020/2021 commenced in Nillumbik at 1.00am on Monday 14 December 2020.

The Fire Danger Period will remain in place until 1 May 2021 unless stated otherwise.

For more information about what you can and can't do during the Fire Danger Period, please visit the CFA website here.


Properties under 1 acre (0.4ha)

A permit is required to burn off if your property is less than 1 acre (0.4Ha).

Please note that your intended burn off will need to be inspected by an authorised officer.

Apply for a permit at the Fire Permits Victoria website

Properties 1 acre (0.4ha) and over

Properties 1 acre (0.4ha) and over do not require a permit to burn a small heap.

If you wish to burn off a large heap (a pile that occupies an area greater than 10 square metres or over 25 cubic metres in volume), then you will require a permit.

Please note that your intended large heap burn will need to be inspected by an authorised officer.

Apply for a large heap permit at the Fire Permits Victoria website


The use of incinerators is not allowed under any circumstances in the Shire of Nillumbik.

Options instead of burning off

Smaller amounts of green waste can be disposed of in your green bin which is collected weekly.

For trailer size loads of green waste, you can use your green waste vouchers for free disposal at the Recycling and Recovery Centre, 290 Yan Yean Road, Plenty. 

See the Green Waste vouchers page for details

Guidelines for burning off legally and safely

Ensure you are aware of local laws and CFA regulations relating to a burn on your property including the declared Fire Danger Period (FDP).

  • Remember no property in Nillumbik can burn off during the FDP without a permit - issued by the CFA via the Fire Permits Victoria online portal.
  • Ensure you have an approved permit if required and are able to produce it upon request by a Nillumbik Shire Council Authorised Officer, Victoria Police, or a member of the Fire Brigade.
  • Notify the Burn Off Notification Line on 1800 668 511 before starting the burn.
  • Notify your neighbours at least two hours before starting the burn.
  • Check weather conditions and if shade temperature exceeds 32 degrees Celsius or the wind speed exceeds 15kph do not burn off.
  • Establish a fire break radius of at least 5 metres (cleared of all flammable material) around and above the material to be burned.
  • Consider the safety of the burn location – taking into consideration any overhead power lines, fences and trees.
  • Ensure you have an adequate water supply such as a hose connected to constant water supply or a minimum of 10 litres at the site of the burn (check your water tank connections).
  • Only burn dry materials, as green or wet vegetation produces excessive smoke.
  • No solvents, petroleum products, rubber or any substance that may give off toxic smoke is to be burnt or used to start or maintain the fire.
  • Ensure there is an adult supervising the burn at all times who has the means and ability to contain and extinguish the burn safely and effectively. Never leave a burn unattended.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure your burn is fully extinguished (with water, not dirt) by 6pm on the day of the burn. Embers blown from a smouldering fire can alight nearby grass and trees causing a fire to spread very quickly.

NOTE: Some materials (eg tree stumps/roots) can smoulder for days if not fully extinguished creating embers which may alight nearby vegetation.

Tree and vegetation management - 10/30 and 10/50 exemptions

Following recommendations from the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, the Victorian Government has made a number of changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions regarding vegetation removal. Depending on whether your property is covered by the Bushfire Management Overlay planning scheme or not, will determine what you can remove. Click here for more information.