Fire and Burning Information

Emergency WA is your first point of call for all bushfire related information in Western Australia. In an emergency, call 000. 

At any time throughout the year, when the Daily Fire Danger Rating is HIGH, EXTREME OR CATASTROPHIC, lighting a fire is AGAINST THE LAW, with NO EXEMPTIONS.


On this page:


Burning Periods and Permits

We are currently in the Restricted Burning Period: 1 April - 31 May 2024

Lighting a fire, for the purposes of hazard reduction or for camping or cooking, should always be taken seriously. There are restrictions upon when you may or may not light a fire, and it is always your responsibility to be aware of what you can and cannot do. For the safety of our community, the Shire of Denmark has the following Burning Periods to help us manage the risk of bushfire.

Frequently Asked Question: What can and can't I do during the different Burning Periods?

Prohibited Burning Period

From 16 December to 29 February, the Shire of Denmark is in the Prohibited Burning Period. (This period may be extended by joint declaration of the Chief Bushfire Control Officer and the Shire President.) Never light a fire during this time, not even a camp or cooking fire. The Prohibited Burning Period is at the peak of summer, and therefore the risk of bushfire is at it's most severe. During this time, a Total Fire Ban and/or Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban may also be declared. It is your responsibility to know when one of these bans has been declared, and the penalty for breaching these bans could be up to $25,000. Consider subscribing to the Shire of Denmark's SMS Alerts System to receive notifications.

During the Prohibited Burning Period, property compliance inspections are carried out by authorised officers to ensure compliance with the annual Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice. You must maintain your property at a fire safe standard in line with the requirements of the Notice for the entirety of the Prohibited Burning Period. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Restricted Burning Period (Permit to Burn Required)

There are two Restricted Burning Periods each year, first from 1 March to 30 April, then again from 1 November to 15 December. (These periods may be extended by joint declaration of the Chief Bushfire Officer and Shire President.)

The Restricted Burning Period has been extended: 1 April - 31 May 2024

During the Restricted Burning Period, you cannot light a fire unless you have a Permit to Burn

Most of the Restricted Burning Period falls within the maintenance period for the annual Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice. You must maintain your property at a fire safe standard in line with the requirements of the Notice from 1 December to 30 April.

Frequently Asked Question: What is a Permit to Burn and how do I get one?

Frequently Asked Question: What do I have to do to maintain my property for the Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice?

Unrestricted Burning Period

Sometimes referred to as Open Burning Season, the Unrestricted Burning Period is from 1 May to 31 October. (This may be extended or shortened by joint declaration of the Chief Bushfire Control Officer and Shire President.) During this time, you may responsibly light fires at your property, following Burn Smart principles, or make use of a camp and cooking fire.

If you wish to carry out a Standing Bush burn, you will require a Permit to Burn from 1 October to 14 November

Remember, in any season, burning is only permitted if the Daily Fire Danger Rating is Moderate or No Rating.

Penalties apply under the Bush Fires Act 1954. These dates are subject to conditions and may change. 

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Fire Management Notice and Property Maintenance Period

All owners and occupiers of land within the Shire of Denmark must comply with the annual Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice. You must maintain your property to the requirements of the notice for the entirety of the maintenance period 1 December to 30 April

There are several good reasons why it's important we all understand and comply with our responsibilities under the Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice:

  • Reducing the risk of bushfire on our properties and neighbouring properties
  • Reducing the risk of harm to our bushfire volunteers in the event of a bushfire
  • It's against the law to fail to comply with the notice
  • Non-compliance can lead to fines

There are many requirements in the Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice. If you need help understanding any aspect of the notice, it's your responsibility to take the necessary steps to educate yourself so your property can be compliant in time for the maintenance period. Please visit our Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice page for more information.

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Camp and Cooking Fires

Camping and cooking fires are NOT PERMITTED in any Shire reserves, beaches, caravan parks, holiday properties, vacant land or roadside parking bays.

For residents of the Shire, camping and cooking fires are permitted on private property subject to the following strict conditions:

  • Daily Fire Danger Rating is Moderate or No Rating and;
  • within 20 metres of a permanent residence (must be a building approved by the Shire and NOT temporary accommodation, caravan or temporary shed) and;
  • within a 3 metre radius clear of combustible material and;
  • contained within one of the following options:
    • a purpose built structure of bricks or rocks and mortar
    • a purpose built steel container recognisable as a properly constructed barbecue
    • a fire pit structure, suitable for a campfire or cooking fire, that has a maximum diameter of one metre and a minimum depth of 30cm
  • the fire must always be attended and you must have the ability and means to extinguish the fire close at hand

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Total Fire Bans and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans

Total Fire Bans and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans are declared independently of each other, but can overlap. If both bans are in place at once, the rules of both bans apply simultaneously.

What You Can and Can't Do During a Total Fire Ban

What You Can and Can't Do During a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban Frequently Asked Questions

Information about any current or recent Total Fire Bans and/or Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans is published here:

Restricted Burning Period Extended to 31 May 2024
Posted 01 May 2024 Restricted Burning Period Extended to 31 May 2024

Permits to Burn required: unlikely to be issued this Restricted Burning Period

Bushfire Emergency Update: Community Meeting Livestream Recording
Posted 27 April 2024 Bushfire Emergency Update: Community Meeting Livestream Recording

View the recording of the Community Meeting, held on Saturday 27 April

Bushfire Emergency Update: Community Meeting Livestream Recording
Posted 26 April 2024 Bushfire Emergency Update: Community Meeting Livestream Recording

View the recording of the Community Meeting, held on Friday 26 April

Restricted Burning Period Extended to 14 May 2024
Posted 05 April 2024 Restricted Burning Period Extended to 14 May 2024

Permits to Burn required: unlikely to be issued this Restricted Burning Period

Restricted Burning Season Commences Today 1 April
Posted 01 April 2024 Restricted Burning Season Commences Today 1 April

Due to dry conditions, Permits to Burn unlikely to be issued

Total Fire Ban and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban 20 FEB
Posted 19 February 2024 Total Fire Ban and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban 20 FEB

Serious penalties apply for breaching the conditions of a Total Fire Ban

Total Fire Ban and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban 10 FEB
Posted 09 February 2024 Total Fire Ban and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban 10 FEB

Serious penalties apply for breaching the conditions of a Total Fire Ban

Total Fire Ban and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban 9 FEB
Posted 09 February 2024 Total Fire Ban and Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban 9 FEB

Serious penalties apply for breaching the conditions of a Total Fire Ban

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Total Fire Ban

A Total Fire Ban is declared by DFES when the bushfire risk is heightened. Strict conditions are imposed on residents and visitors when a Total Fire Ban is declared in the Shire of Denmark. Information about what you can't do during a Total Fire Ban is available on the DFES website. Penalties of up to $25,000 apply for breaching a Total Fire Ban.

It is your responsibility to be aware of whether or not a Total Fire Ban has been declared on any given day. Get into the daily habit of checking Emergency WA or tune into ABC local radio. You can also subscribe to our SMS Alert System.

Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban

A Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban (sometimes referred to as a Movement Ban or Vehicle Movement Ban) is declared by the Shire of Denmark upon advice from the Chief Bushfire Control Officer. If a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban is declared at the same time as a Total Fire Ban, the requirements of both bans must be adhered to.

During a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban, the following activities are not permitted unless otherwise specified when the ban is declared:

  • Any 'off-road activity' is banned (including off-road activity for agricultural purposes or work being conducted by business, industry and public authorities)
    • 'Off-road' includes areas such as:
      • paddocks
      • bushland
      • uncleared land
      • land with stubble
      • grass
    • 'Activity' includes the use of anything activated by an internal combustion engine such as:
      • vehicles (including farm equipment such as tractors)
      • motor bikes
      • quad bikes
      • excavators
      • chain saws
      • lawnmowers
      • generators
  • Harvesting operations are not permitted

Activities which are permitted unless otherwise specified when the ban is declared include:

  • Use of a vehicle on:
    • gazetted roads*
    • lanes*
    • driveways*
    • yards*
      • *that provide access to, or parking at, any residential, farming or business premises, if the area is sufficiently cleared of flammable material
  • Use of a vehicle if:
    • there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of a person or livestock and;
    • all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent the creation of a bushfire danger

Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a Total Fire Ban and a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban?

A Total Fire Ban declares that you cannot carry out any activity that could start a fire (such as hot-works, grinding and off-road activity), but there are some exemptions for businesses and agricultural operations. A Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban removes those exemptions for businesses and agricultural operations, requiring them to adhere to an off-road activity ban.

A Total Fire Ban usually lasts from midnight to midnight, whereas a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban usually covers a portion of the day, allowing for the need for agricultural businesses to ensure the welfare of their livestock in the mornings and evenings.

I need to drive into a paddock to feed my livestock, I'm exempt from this ban, right?

Wrong. Any ‘off road activity’ is banned during a Movement Ban. The definition of ‘off road’ includes paddocks and the definition of ‘activity’ is the ‘use of anything activated by an internal combustion engine’, so that would cover your ute, tractor, bobcat, telehandler or any other implement you might use to feed your livestock.

What about checking my livestock? Summer is calving time!

You can drive on your laneways on your property if they are sufficiently cleared of flammable material – think a proper gravel road, not a grassed laneway or firebreak – but you cannot drive into your paddocks unless there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of a person or livestock.

While the Ban is in place, you must walk your paddocks to check your livestock and water points. If this is not possible, you should perform your checks early in the morning before a Movement Ban is declared (usually between 8am and 10am, depending on conditions). If you have concern for an animal, it’s a good idea to move it to an accessible location before the Ban comes into effect.

If, during the day while the Ban is on, you identify a seriously and immediately threatened animal or a critical water outage to a stocked paddock, you can drive on to address the issue. If you do this, you must be extra vigilant, on the lookout for fire and take all reasonable precautions to prevent the creation of a bushfire danger (i.e. access the paddock in a ute or truck with your firefighting unit mounted and filled).

I run an earthworking/slashing/roadworks/farming/tree-lopping or similar business. Can I continue operating as normal under a movement ban?

No. When a Movement Ban is declared, it means the district is facing exceptionally dangerous fire weather conditions. Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures, so a Movement Ban day is a good day to spend some time in your shed catching up on equipment maintenance, bookwork or, perhaps consider taking the day off.

When a Total Fire Ban is declared by DFES, businesses can register to receive a permit to continue work. Please visit the DFES website for more information about this.

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Bushfire Risk Mitigation Program

Each year, the Shire reviews and rolls out a bushfire risk mitigation program to reduce the risk of bushfire on Shire land. Contractors utilise a range of methods (including mulching, slashing, spraying, hazard reduction burning and more) to carry out the program.

More information is available on our Mitigation Program webpage.

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Volunteer Bushfire Brigade Assisted Control Burns

Local brigades are able to assist with controlled burning to reduce fuel levels on your property. To apply for a Hazard Reduction on your property, please download and complete an application form with your local Fire Control Officer and contact the Shire's Community Emergency Services Manager on 9848 0300. Fees apply.

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Bushfire Brigade Districts and Fire Control Officers

Key Contacts

Chief Bushfire Control Officer: Lez Baines 0428 788 008

Deputy Chief Bushfire Control Officer: Nigel Marsh 0408 956 133

Senior Fire Control Officer: Shane Howlett 0412 013 860

Community Emergency Services Manager: Mark Guerin 0428 913 937

Ranger Services: 9848 0300

Local Fire Control Officers (current as at August 2023)

Carmarthen: Craig Hughes 0407 223 297

East Denmark: Chris Hoare 0447 4482 244

Harewood: Chris Hudson 0467 819 912

Hazelvale: Alex Williams 0417 188 843

Kordabup: Craig Lilley 0417 746 848

Mt Lindesay: Murray Brooker 0429 094 136

Nornalup: Ian Coulson 0402 764 712

Ocean Beach: Graham Dixon 0412 920 069

Owingup: Paul Moncrieff 0413 117 192

Peaceful Bay: VACANT (contact Hazelvale)

Scotsdale/Shadforth: Geoff Bowley 0429 875 850

Somerset Hill: Gavin Butler 0437 972 053

Tingledale: Brian Vigus 0417 188 158

William Bay: Blair Darvill 0427 333 664

Denmark Town: Darin Hockley 0417 968 776 / Grant Wilson 0487 119 195

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Community SMS Alert System 

The Shire of Denmark has a SMS Alert System which is quick and simple to sign up to receive notices from.

Subscribe to Receive Important Community Notices

While this can be used to provide information about Total Fire Bans, road closures and emergency information, it should NOT be relied upon to inform you of an emergency or when you need to evacuate. Waiting for an SMS Alert to tell you to evacuate in the case of an emergency is like waiting for someone to knock on your door which you should never rely on. Instead, you should have a Bushfire Plan that details your triggers to know when it’s time to evacuate and what to do next.

Make your Bushfire Plan today.

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Local Emergency Management Arrangements

Access a copy of the Shire of Denmark's Local Emergency Management Arrangements (LEMA) below.

The document is currently under review.

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Fire Safety and Bushfire Frequently Asked Questions


What can and can't I do during the different Burning Periods?

During the Prohibited Burning Period, it is illegal to light a fire in the Shire of Denmark.

(Exemptions may be granted for government authorities to carried out hazard reduction burns during this time.)

For residents of the Shire, there is an exemption for camping and cooking fires subject to the following strict conditions:

  • Daily Fire Danger Rating is Moderate or No Rating and;
  • within 20 metres of a permanent residence (must be a building approved by the Shire and NOT temporary accommodation, caravan or temporary shed) and;
  • within a 3 metre radius clear of combustible material and;
  • contained within one of the following options:
    • a purpose built structure of bricks or rocks and mortar
    • a purpose built steel container recognisable as a properly constructed barbecue
    • a fire pit structure, suitable for a campfire or cooking fire, that has a maximum diameter of one metre and a minimum depth of 30cm
  • the fire must always be attended and you must have the ability and means to extinguish the fire close at hand

During the Restricted Burning Period, you must obtain a Permit to Burn and comply with the permit conditions, as well as the Bush Fires Act 1954

Contact your local Fire Control Officer to request a Permit to Burn.

During the Unrestricted Burning Period, a Permit to Burn is not required, but you must still be aware of the Daily Fire Danger Rating and act responsibly. 

DFES has resources available to help you Burn Smart.

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What is a Permit to Burn and how do I get one?

A Permit to Burn is a signed agreement between you and an Authorised Officer which allows you to conduct a burn on your property under strict conditions during the Restricted Burning Period. 

You can apply for a Permit by contacting your local Fire Control Officer. Please allow 48 hours prior to your planned burn to apply for your Permit.

Permits are issued under strict conditions and can be revoked at any time. You must comply with the conditions of your Permit.

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How do I lower the risk of my planned burn?

The DFES Burn SMART guide is designed to assist property owners in planning and implementing planned burns when conditions are suitable to safely reduce bushfire risk.

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What activities are banned during a Total Fire Ban?

It’s a long list! Details and frequently asked questions specific to Total Fire Bans are available on the DFES website.

Remember harsh penalties apply for breaking a Total Fire Ban, so it is important to make yourself familiar with what you are and are not allowed to do.

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I can see smoke. What do I do?

All registered fires will be listed on Emergency WA (www.emergency.wa.gov.au)

If you cannot find the fire on Emergency WA, call 000 immediately.

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Will someone knock on my door or send me an SMS if a fire is coming towards my home?

Firefighters will be fighting the fire, not advising residents of the risk.

Waiting for someone to knock on your door or send you a SMS is NEVER a good idea. Instead, you should be aware of the risks and threats around you, and have a Bushfire Plan prepared ahead of bushfire season.

Get into the daily habit of checking Emergency WA and make your Bushfire Plan before it's too late. 

If you need more support to prepare for bushfire season, Denmark is lucky to have a range of Bushfire Ready Groups which can help. These groups are people living within a local area, facing the same bushfire threat, and who often have existing social networks already in place. The groups are run by a Bushfire Ready Facilitator, assisted by Street Coordinators and supported by Fire and Emergency Services personnel. They meet informally to learn and discuss how to become Bushfire Ready and work together to prepare and protect their families and properties against bushfires.

If you’re interested in joining a Bushfire Ready group near you, email fireready@denmark.wa.gov.au 

For more info about Bushfire Ready, head over to www.yourdenmark.wa.gov.au/be-bush-fire-ready

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How do I join a volunteer fire brigade?

If becoming a volunteer interests you, please contact your local Fire Control Officer. They will guide you through the steps to signing up and help you along the way.

To take part in active firefighting roles you will need to undertake training provided by DFES and Local Government, attend regular brigade activities and be of satisfactory health and fitness.

Your nearest brigade may also have non-active positions available such as Base Radio Operator, Secretary, Maintenance Officer, Treasurer or Training Officer.

DFES has information on what’s involved on its website.

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Where can I find the Daily Fire Danger Rating?

Right here: Emergency WA

High

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Am I allowed to light a campfire?

Camp and cooking fires are not permitted on public land including beaches, reserves, campsites and road reserves. 

For residents of the Shire, there is an exemption for camping and cooking fires subject to the following strict conditions:

  • Daily Fire Danger Rating is Moderate or No Rating and;
  • within 20 metres of a permanent residence (must be a building approved by the Shire and NOT temporary accommodation, caravan or temporary shed) and;
  • within a 3 metre radius clear of combustible material and;
  • contained within one of the following options:
    • a purpose built structure of bricks or rocks and mortar
    • a purpose built steel container recognisable as a properly constructed barbecue
    • a fire pit structure, suitable for a campfire or cooking fire, that has a maximum diameter of one metre and a minimum depth of 30cm
  • the fire must always be attended and you must have the ability and means to extinguish the fire close at hand

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Where can I get support to understand the Firebreak and Fuel Management Notice?

We have a range of resources available to assist you.

  • Check out the series of short videos to learn more
  • Book a Ranger - contact Ranger Services on 9848 0300 to make an appointment for a Ranger to visit your property and talk you through the notice
  • Join your local Bushfire Ready group

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What is the Shire doing to reduce the bushfire risk in our Shire?

The Shire has an annual Fire Mitigation Program.

More information about the program, locations for this year's program and details on the standards for mitigation is available.

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What can I do to make sure I'm prepared for bushfire season?

There are a few simple things you can do:

  • Get into the daily habit of checking Emergency WA
  • Make your Bushfire Plan today
  • Join your local Bushfire Ready group
  • Make a Book a Ranger appointment before property compliance inspections begin. Call Ranger Services on 9848 0300

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What fitting do I need on my tank to allow fire brigades to take water?

Male Camlock 50mm

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