Backyard burning, braziers and fire pits

Brisbane City Council allows the use of braziers and fire pits (off the ground) in residential areas, provided the smoke does not impact neighbours and the fire does not present a safety risk to people or property. Burning of waste (including green waste) is prohibited under Council's Health, Safety and Amenity Local Law 2021. Some exemptions do apply.

Using your brazier or fire pit

Council values the importance of social interactions and gatherings, however from time to time fires can have a negative impact on some residents within the community, especially those with pre-existing health concerns.

Whilst it may not always be possible to avoid smoke impacts entirely (e.g. if neighbours are close by), the use of 'smokeless' fuels such as charcoal, gas or ethanol may be a good solution.

To minimise impacts on your neighbours:

Do

  • use clean, dry wood, gas, ethanol or charcoal
  • contain the fire in the fire pit or brazier above the ground
  • keep the fire at least 2.5 metres away from any flammable material, including property, vegetation and other structures and not under any overhang
  • supervise children
  • fully extinguish the fire with water.

Don't

  • let smoke impact neighbours
  • burn garden vegetation, damp wood, toxic material or waste
  • have a fire on the ground or in used drums
  • use a fire pit or brazier during fire bans
  • leave a fire burning overnight.


     

Read more tips about minimising smoke from backyard burning.

Read:

If a residential fire is causing smoke, view our Smoke, ash and fumes complaints page for information, including how to lodge a complaint.

What does a safe fire pit or brazier look like?

Safe fire pit and brazier examples

Fire contained in an above-ground fire pit with sufficient air flow to reduce smoke.

Brazier raised above the ground with sufficient air flow to reduce smoke.

Unsafe and illegal residential fire pits and braziers

This below-ground fire pit is not compliant with the local law and is unsafe.

This fire in a metal drum is not compliant with the local law and is unsafe.

Backyard burning

Burning of waste (including green waste) is prohibited under the local law. Residents in rural areas are permitted to burn green waste as long as they comply with the requirements of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990. Residents in rural areas undertaking an authorised burn can also take steps to reduce their smoke impacts.

Find more information on reducing waste at home, including green waste recycling.

Local law exemptions

The local law provides for a number of exemptions around fires. This includes fires:

  • authorised or required under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990
  • used as part of cultural, ceremonial or theatrical performances or similar events
  • used to cook food in a barbecue, pizza oven or food smoker, where the fire is not in direct contact with the ground
  • that are of a size, nature and duration that does present a fire hazard.

Fire bans

To find out if there is a fire ban in your area and how this may impact you, visit the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website.

Kidsafe Queensland video

Watch Kidsafe Queensland’s video about backyard brazier and fire pit safety.

You can also access a plain-text transcription of this video.

Brazier and fire pit guidelines

Council allows the use of above ground braziers and fire pits, provided the smoke does not impact neighbours and the fire does not present a safety risk to people or property. 

These guidelines are designed to help you minimise the risk of causing smoke impacts or fire safety issues from your brazier or fire pit.

  • The fire is contained in a brazier or fire pit which is constructed so as to prevent the escape of fire or any burning material contained within.
  • The fire is not on the ground or in a used drum.
  • The fire pit or brazier is of a design that allows the flow of air into the fire from below and the sides of the fire to enable oxygenation and minimise the production of smoke.
  • The fire is at least 2.5 metres away from:
    •   other flammable and combustible materials (organic and inorganic) on the property and upon adjacent properties, including vegetation
    • every property boundary and the outermost projection of any nearby buildings or structures.
  • The fire is not under a roof or other overhang.
  • The fire is not on a balcony.
  • Portable fire pits or braziers are used with an ashtray to prevent contact with any flammable material on the ground or flooring.
  • The fire is made using only clean, dry, properly seasoned wood, or 'smokeless' fuel such as charcoal, ethanol or gas.
  • Painted or treated wood, plastics or any other rubbish must not be burnt as these emit hazardous chemicals.
  • No burning vegetation from the garden, damp wood, toxic material or waste. It is illegal to collect driftwood or firewood from a Council park, natural area or waterway under Council's Public Land and Council Assets Local Law 2014.
  • A responsible person over the age of 18 is in attendance at the fire at all times and until the time that the fire is completely extinguished.
  • The fire is never left unattended and children are actively supervised when around the fire.
  • Only one brazier or fire pit is used on a property at any one time.
  • The fire is put out with water. Do not cover with sand or dirt or let the fire burn out overnight.
  • The fire has not been lit during a total fire ban issued by the QFES or in contravention of any other fire restriction issued by the QFES.
  • The fire must have minimal flame to minimise the potential of surrounding objects catching on fire.

A 'brazier' is a portable heater, designed to hold hot coals, generally taking the form of an upright standing or hanging metal bowl or box. It always has sides but does not always have a roof or grill. It is predominantly used for heating purposes.

For more information, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Last updated: 21 April 2022

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.