Total Fire Bans

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.

Total Fire Bans

Subscribe to receive Total Fire Ban (TOBAN) notifications via email from ESA.

Why are Total Fire Bans declared?

On days of elevated fire danger, increased fire activity 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 are enforced when conditions would make it extremely difficult to contain a fire should one light, putting the community and property at significant risk.

A Total Fire Ban may also be declared as a preventative measure for reasons such as:

  • The number, nature or location of existing fires
  • Severe forecast weather conditions over the coming days
  • Firefighting resources are already committed and unable to respond to new incidents

Total Fire Ban declarations are published on the home page of this website, the ESA Twitter and Facebook accounts, and through ACT local media

How long does a Total Fire Ban last?

The decision to issue a Total Fire Ban is usually made the day before, starting at midnight and lasting for 24 hours. This can be extended or reduced.

How will I know when it is a Total Fire Ban?

Total Fire Ban declarations are published on the home page of this website, the ESA Twitter and Facebook accounts, and through ACT local media.

You can also subscribe to receive an email from ESA when a Total Fire Ban is declared.

The ESA website will be updated with information on any closures or restrictions. You can also call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Total Fire Ban Rules

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 like welding, grinding, soldering and gas cutting; and
  • Use slashers and harvesting machinery in rural areas.

Everyone is asked to remain extremely vigilant at all times on days of total fire bans. You should take extreme caution while driving or parking vehicles in  long open grassed areas, mowing yards, or visiting remote wilderness or forested areas.

Access restrictions and closures may apply to many public reserves, camping grounds, pine forests and other remote areas.

How do I report someone for not respecting Total Fire Ban rules?

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 during a Total Fire Ban

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.
Fire Permits during a Total Fire Ban

All current fire permits are automatically suspended on days of Total Fire Ban.

If it is necessary to undertake activities that are not allowed during a Total Fire Ban, you must first apply for a fire permit from the ESA. Strict penalties apply to anyone who operates without a permit.

Go to the Fire Permits page on this website for more information.

Closures During a Total Fire Ban

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, selected roads within Namadgi National Park including Apollo Road, Orroral Road, Old Mill Road, Warks Road, Mount Franklin Road and the Corin Dam Road, Googong Foreshores, Kowen Forest, Lower Molonglo River Corridor, Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary and the Centenary Trail between Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and Hall.

The Boboyan Road and Brindabella Road remain open to through traffic.

The Tidbinbilla and Namadgi Visitors Centres will remain open.

Swimming areas at the Cotter and along the Murrumbidgee River such as Kambah Pool, Pine Island Point Hut and Uriarra Crossing will remain open.