Bonfires are not generally allowed unless permission is received from the Commissioner, ESA. Approval will only be given for bonfires held on unleased land, or on non-residential leased land with the consent of the lessee. Bonfires may not be held on residential land.
There is an exception to these rules for bonfires around the Queen’s Birthday public holiday period in June. The Queen’s Birthday public holiday is held on the 2nd Monday in June. These exceptions are set out in schedule 1, part 1.2 of the Environment Protection Regulation 2005.
The exception applies during the period starting on the Saturday 9 days before the Queen’s Birthday public holiday and ending on the Sunday 6 days after the public holiday.
During this time you are permitted to light a bonfire on your residential land
All bonfires should be constructed and used responsibly. Residents are strongly advised to follow the guide below to ensure the safety of all participants.
- Bonfires should be a reasonable size for the location and surroundings.
- A responsible adult should be at the fire at all times until extinguished.
- A hose or other method of controlling the fire should be immediately available at all times that the fire is burning.
- The area surrounding the fire should be cleared of flammable material.
- Bonfires should not be used in strong winds.
- Flammable liquids such as petrol should not be used to light or contribute to a fire.
- If the fire gets out of control or there is a danger of the fire spreading, ring 000 immediately.
If firefighters are called to attend a bonfire and they form an opinion that the bonfire may present a risk to life or property, the bonfire may be extinguished.
It is an offence to use plastic materials, waste, or painted, treated or unseasoned wood in a bonfire.
To report an illegal bonfires please contact the Environment Protection Authority by phoning the Access Canberra Contact Centre on 13 22 81.
If you are after further guidance on bonfires, or you wish to seek approval for a bonfire, you can contact ACT Fire & Rescue for land within the urban area or the ACT Rural Fire Service for land within the rural area.