Smoke, ash and fumes complaints

Brisbane City Council has regulations to control smoke, ash and fumes as a result of lighting fires in residential and commercial areas.

You cannot light a fire within Council boundaries except for any of the following reasons:

  • where the fire is used to cook food for human consumption in a barbecue or similar structure (but not a fire on the ground)
  • for approved theatrical or similar approved entertainment events
  • where the subject land is included in the Rural area classification (Brisbane City Plan 2014) and neither the height, width or length of the material to be consumed exceeds two metres
  • where a permit has been issued by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service
  • where the fire is required to be lit by a notice under section 69 of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990.

Council may issue you with an on-the-spot fine for lighting a fire for any other purpose.

Open air fires and waste incineration are not allowed.

If you are burning fuel for heating or cooking, never burn anything except seasoned dry firewood or commercial hot coals and gas.

You are responsible for the smoke emitted and cannot cause a smoke nuisance to your neighbours.

You can dispose of garden waste:

Broad hectare burns for fuel reduction purposes involving protected vegetation are assessed as applications to interfere with protected vegetation.

Operation of a wood-fired heater in the home can cause complaints if incorrectly operated or located. Find out how to minimise nuisance from wood heaters.

Backyard burning is not allowed in the Brisbane City Council area without a permit.

Lodging a complaint

When investigating complaints about smoke, ash and fumes, Council considers:

  • the amount of smoke
  • how long smoke is emitted and the smoke's characteristics
  • how sensitive the surrounding environment is and the impact of the smoke.

Find out how to lodge a complaint about an environmental nuisance issue.

Last updated:30 April 2019