What is a Total Fire Ban?

With Summer on the horizon, Total Fire Bans will be coming into play. Do the right thing, and help prevent bushfires this Summer. It is essential that Western Australians adhere to Total Fire Ban rules for the sake of everyone’s safety.

What is a Total Fire Ban?

A Total Fire Ban is declared by authorities when fires are likely to threaten lives and property. A TFB is enforced when environmental conditions, such as weather, may cause extreme fire danger, or when fires are already burning and emergency resources are too thinly spread.

A photo of a bush fire helicopter

Total Fire Bans in Western Australia

Everyone is affected when there is a TFB. There are some exemptions in certain situations so to find out if that applies to you visit the government website dfes.wa.gov.au/totalfirebans. Apart from those exemptions then you cannot in open air;

  • Start, light or continue a fire and that includes camping
  • Burn grass cuttings, waste or leaves
  • Use an outdoor stove or pizza oven
  • Cook on a BBQ that requires solid fuel
  • Use an incinerator
  • Set off fireworks
  • Use a hot air balloon
  • Any kind of hotwork like grinding, soldering, welding

If you are in an area with crops, bush, stubble and pasture you cannot use the following;

  • Motorbikes
  • Tractors
  • Cars
  • Angle grinders
  • Construction machinery such as bulldozers and bobcats
  • Generators
  • Quad bikes
  • Gardening equipment like grass trimmer, chainsaw, or lawnmower
  • Dune buggies
  • A welder (unless you are inside with full enclosure on all four sides)

TFB rules for BBQs and Outdoor Cooking

You cannot use any outside cooking options that need solid fuel like charcoal, wood, or heat beads. You can use an electric or gas BBQ if;

  • The BBQ is a permanent fixture in a public picnic area
  • It is in your home
  • It is within a public signposted area for BBQs
  • It is a BBQ with a flame that is enclosed
  • Flammable material 5 meters around the BBQ must be clear

Have water on hand in case of an emergency. A responsible adult should always be in charge of operating a barbecue.

Farmers actions during Total Fire Bans

When there is a total fire ban if the welfare of your animals or crops is of immediate concern then you can ignore the ban and act. You can still harvest your crops, and water and feed your animals. You can use a helicopter or aeroplane as long as no Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban is in place. There must be a firebreak area around where you land, a fire extinguisher and over 150 litres of water in hand too. Check with the local government about needing equipment for fire suppression.

At any time you should make sure that;

  • Your exhaust system is not leaking and is well maintained
  • The vehicle is sound and working well
  • That you have done everything needed to prevent a fire from starting because of your actions

If there is a vehicle movement ban in place then this means no machinery or vehicles can be used that operate with an internal combustion engine where the land has stubble, crops, bush or pasture.

A photo of a fire during a Total Fire Ban (TFB)


Ignoring the rules when there is a Total Fire Ban is dangerous and there are consequences. You can be fined $1,000 for small infractions. For more serious cases, fines of $25,000 can be issued along with possible jail time for up to 12 months.

Revised Total Fire Ban information and staying up-to-date

Please stay safe and help keep other people safe. Follow the TFB rules. For revised Total Fire Ban information and staying up-to-date go to dfes.wa.gov.au/totalfirebans, look on Facebook, listen to ABC local radio or call 13 DFES (133 337) or the TFB Hotline 1800 709 355.

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