Smoke nuisance from wood-fired heaters

All wood-fired heaters produce smoke which can be harmful to people’s health and annoy neighbours. 

The potential health impacts and the level of annoyance that wood smoke can cause neighbours depends on the frequency and duration of the smoke, and the sensitivity and health status of neighbours.

Wood heater owner/user responsibilities

It is unlawful to cause a smoke nuisance for neighbours under the Queensland Government’s Environmental Protection Act 1994

It is the responsibility of the owner/operator of a wood-fired heater to prevent smoke nuisance to neighbours and the community. There are many things you need to be careful of to prevent smoke nuisance, especially:

  • only ever burn dry, well-seasoned firewood
  • keep your heater and chimney in good working order
  • ensure correct operation of your heater and check that there is no smoke coming from your chimney 20 minutes after you light the fire

Read Council's Wood Heater Guide for more important tips on how to avoid creating a smoke nuisance and protecting your family’s health.

If a complaint is received about smoke nuisance from a wood-fired heater a letter will be sent to the complainant and the owner of the wood heater. 

  1. Brisbane City Council will investigate the complaint. 
  2. Information about the correct operation of a wood heater will be sent.
  3. Both the complainant and the owner need to make written records of the use of the wood heater and smoke emissions. 
  4. If the smoke nuisance continues a warning may be issued. 
  5. If it continues, an on-the-spot fine may be issued and further non-compliance may result in further enforcement action.

How to lodge a complaint

Find out how to lodge a complaint.

Last updated:8 May 2019