On days of elevated fire danger or when forecast weather conditions are conducive to the spread of fire, the ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner may declare a Total Fire Ban for all, or part of, the ACT.
Total Fire Bans last for a period of 24-hours and commonly commence at midnight and finish at midnight, however these times can be extended or reduced.
Total Fire Bans are enforced when conditions are such that the spread and control of a wildfire would be extremely difficult and where the community is at significant risk of injury/death and loss of property as a result of fire.
A total fire ban may also be declared for pre-emptive purposes such as:
- Because of the number, nature or location of existing fires;
- Severe forecast weather conditions over the coming days conducive to the spread of fire may exist or are likely; and
- Fire fighting resources may be committed to other incidents and may not be available to respond to new ignitions.
All current fire permits are automatically suspended on days of Total Fire Ban.
During a total fire ban, it is an offence for a person to:
- Light, maintain or use a fire in the open air;
- Use fireworks in the open air;
- Undertake a high risk activity. These are activities which may cause fire to ignite, and include welding, grinding, soldering and gas cutting; and
- Use of slashers and harvesting machinery in rural areas.
If it is necessary to undertake these activities on a total fire ban, you must first apply for a fire permit from the ESA. Strict penalties apply to persons who undertake any of these activities without a fire permit.
Persons are asked to remain extremely vigilant at all times on days of total fire bans with the activities in which they undertake. You should take extreme caution while driving or parking vehicles through long open grassed areas, mowing yards, or visiting remote wilderness or forested areas of the ACT.
Access restrictions and closures may apply to many public reserves, camping grounds, pine forests and other remote areas.
If you see any careless or criminal activity relating to total fire bans, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. If you see a fire break out, call 000 immediately.
Use of Barbeques
Electric barbeques provided at the Cotter, Casuarina Sands, Pine Island, the National Arboretum Canberra and in Canberra’s urban parks will be available for use, however all gas barbeques will be turned off.
Gas or electric cooking appliances only may be used during a total fire ban day for cooking or heating liquid if:
- The barbeque is under constant adult supervision and attendance;
- The area within three metres of the barbeque is cleared of all materials which could burn; and
- A fire extinguisher or continuous supply of water is available for use to extinguish the fire if required.