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 lasts 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.
All current fire permits are automatically suspended on days of Total Fire Ban.
Any activity where fire is lit or used in the open air and the use of fireworks must not occur without a exemption from the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA).
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 maybe committed to other incidents and may not be available to respond to new ignitions.
Persons are asked to remain extremely vigilant at all times on days of total fire bans with the activities in which they undertake. All non-essential activities that require the use of an open flame must be postponed until after the total fire ban has finished.
Other activities should be seriously reconsidered on days of total fire ban such as:
- Driving or parking vehicles through long open grassed areas;
- Using grinders in open areas;
- Undertaking mowing or slashing; and
- Visiting remote wilderness or forested areas of the ACT.
During a Total Fire Ban the following fires are permitted:
- Fires used inside a factory, as defined under the Emergencies Regulations 2004;
- Fire that is maintained for a ceremonial or commemorative purpose providing that, the fire; is less than 1 meter square in volume, is under the constant supervision of a responsible adult, the area around the fire is clear for three metres and approval has been granted by the ESA;
- Fires necessary for the maintenance or repair of essential services by authorised entities including light, power, water, sewerage, transport or communications, providing prior notice has been provided to the ESA; and
- Gas or electric cooking appliances used on your own premises, i.e. no wood, charcoal, or spirit burning appliances.
In particular, a gas or electric barbeque may be used under the following conditions:
- The barbeque is under constant adult supervision and attendance;
- The ground within three metres of the barbeque is cleared of all materials which could burn; and
- There is a continuous supply of water that can be applied to the barbeque and the surrounding area.