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Safe Pile Burning with NSW RFS

Hello I’m inspector Rolf Poole from New
South Wales Rural Fire Service. In this short video we’re going to discuss how
you can safely conduct pile burning on your property. Step one is to seek the
appropriate environmental approval if required. The type of approval depends on
the purpose of the burn, for example bushfire hazard reduction,
burning native vegetation or an approval for open burning. Open burning is
prohibited in many densely populated areas or where green beans are provided,
it’s best to check with your local council. Green waste collection services
is the best option for urban yard maintenance. Pile burning is an option
available for rural, agricultural or isolated properties. In the example that
we’re looking at today the property owner has obtained an approval for open
burning from Hornsby Council. So it’s important to follow the conditions on
your approval, each council is different within the Hornsby Shire Council they
permit the burning of material that’s less than 150 millimetres thick or no
thicker than six inches. The material must be dead or dying or brown, it should
not be green because the green material put up a lot of smoke. If it looks like
it’s going to rain before the burn, before you’re intending to burn put a
tarp over it and keep it dry. You can’t burn any plastics, cardboard, polystyrene
or treated timber such as pallets and there are hefty fines involved for
burning that type of material. So it’s vital to choose an appropriate location
for your pile, make sure there’s a good clearance of a release 5 metres around
the pile and the grass is maintained. You need to be a good safe distance away
from any structures such as your house, any fence lines and make sure there’s no
power lines overhead. The next step is to obtain approval from your local fire
authority if the property is within Rural Fire District you will require
fire safety permit during the bushfire danger period. The bushfire danger period
can vary but generally runs through the warmer months of each year. Request a
fire safety permit through your local Fire Control Centre or local Brigade.
Once you have a permit make sure you check, sign and abide by the conditions
on the back. The permit will last for a maximum of 21 days. If the property is in
a metropolitan area and is covered by Fire and Rescue district, you’ll require
a fire safety permit all year round from your local Fire and Rescue Brigade.
So once you have your council approval and your fire permit in place the next
step is notifications, you need to let your neighbors know and the fire
authority you know at least 24 hours before you light up. This 24 hours notice
is your chance to do a final check regarding suitable weather conditions.
All permits are suspended on days with very high fire danger or above and total
fire bans can be issued over a 24-hour period. Before lighting it’s important to
have the correct clothing and equipment. You are required to have a water supply
and sufficient length of hose in order to control the pile. It’s also
advisable that you addressed in long-sleeve cotton clothing, long pants, enclosed shoes with a hat and gloves. Start your burn from one side and allow
the fire to progress slowly across the pile. Don’t get impatient. While
you’re conducting the pile burn be sure to keep an eye out for floating embers
that may potentially start spot fires in surrounding areas. Use a metal rake or
tools to push in the outer edges of the fire and maintain the fire edge. An
appropriate adult needs to be in supervision at all times and you need to
monitor the pile burn until the material has been completely burnt out and there
is no longer any active flame. If you have trouble with the fire or there is a
fire escape call 000. It’s always best to report fire escapes before they
cause any further damage. Be aware that significant penalties apply when you
don’t follow the conditions or you breach the conditions on your fire
safety permit or your open burning regulation. Check with your local council
and the Rural Fire Service, have a look at the Rural Fire Service website for
further detail. If you follow these guidelines you’ll have a safe and
successful pile burn.

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