Make the most of the off-season

The 2023–24 fire danger period ends on Sunday March 31st, Easter Sunday.

Neville (captain) suggests you start planning now to make the most of the off-season: “The off-season is the time to ready your property for the next fire season without the need for a fire permit and while weather conditions are suitable for burning off.”

Check the access to your property and prepare it as well as you can for our vehicles should you ever need them. Is your driveway too tight, would overhanding vegetation impede us? Cut back whatever you can. Create a pile, or more, that you can burn off later in the off-season.

Our large cat 1 trucks carry the most water and we use them to protect houses. Make sure vegetation doesn’t make it impossible for them to get close to yours.

Walk around your house and outbuildings with a fire-fighter’s eye. Is there too much ‘fuel’ growing close to the buildings? Consider trimming this back. Are there other flammable materials that should be moved clear of buildings?

Keep your piles small and manageable and, as far as possible, in open space. Be aware that with large piles, radiant heat can be a risk, capable of damaging buildings and power lines, or igniting grass and even trees. Large piles, especially those that have been standing for some time, can also become a refuge for animals, including hibernating reptiles. They can then perish when the pile is burnt.

Although you don’t need a permit to light a pile in the off-season, you still need to notify the RFS and your neighbours. See Lighting fires in the open – What you need to know.

When you notify the RFS, you receive a burn notification number. As well as explaining the conditions you must observe, this registers the burn so that if it is reported, the RFS knows it is not an uncontrolled fire and our volunteer fire-fighters are not called out unnecessarily – but if a pile burn does get away from you, call triple 000 immediately.

Note that a pile burn is not a burn of building waste or hazardous materials.

If you do have one or more large piles that you need to burn, the brigade may be able to help. Contact Neville on the brigade’s duty officer number, (02) 6100 6252. The number diverts, so be patient. Alternatively email

It can take some time to do the paperwork, organise a crew, and get suitable weather, so allow plenty of time.

Start now and make the most of the next six months.

Sally Kaufmann | March 2024


Other articles that may be of interest:

Lighting fires in the open

Preparing a fire plan > Can our trucks fit through your gate and under your trees?

Our brigade’s fire-fighting fleet

Created 18 March 2024