Published on Tuesday, 14 May 2024 at 8:50:12 AM

The Shire of Toodyay advises that the Restricted Burning Period will end effective 15 May 2024. While this means burning may occur without a permit, conditions remain abnormally dry, with a high degree of care still essential. Anyone considering burning should read and carefully consider the below.


How Dry is the Season?

At publication of this article, the soil dryness index sits in the 95th percentile (i.e. 95% of the maximum dryness rating). Soil dryness has a direct relationship to the dryness of the bush (fuel conditions). The Forest Fuel Dryness Index sits at that top of it’s scale. For each of the past seven months the soil dryness has been the highest in 5 years, with 11 of the past 12 months being above the 5 year average. One can see the effect this prolonged dry period has had on bush environments with many dead or highly stressed trees and shrubs.  This means that despite rain and moderating weather conditions, fire will burn more vigorously in current conditions than past seasons.  


What Actions Should I Take?

Ensure that you:

  • Have checked a detailed forecast (i.e. BOM Meteye) - if there are wind direction changes or increases in speed, consider postponing. This is a common situation prior to approaching rain, please do not burn in these conditions.
  • Check the Fire Danger Rating for the Swan Inland North District (the Shire recommends burning only when ‘No Rating’ or ‘Moderate’).
  • Check there is no Total Fire Ban or Section 46 notification prohibiting burning in place.
  • Make sure a good quality fire-break fully surrounds your burn.
  • Have sufficient personnel and suppression resources available to manage the fire with constant supervision until fully extinguished.
  • Consider the bigger picture, i.e. impact of smoke on roads or neighbours (consider notifying, particularly if burning close to boundaries).


What Restrictions Remain?

Despite the easing of restrictions, controls and penalties for misuse of fire still exist. These include:

  • Declaration of a Total Fire Bands by DFES.
  • Declaration of a Bush Fires Act Section 46 Notice by the Shire – this is a control which prohibits the lighting of or maintaining a fire and is declared during adverse fire weather conditions. Notifications via the Shire’s SMS Notification Service. Due to the dry conditions, use of this control is likely.
  • Fires which escape a property may be subject to penalties under the Bush Fires Act, Criminal Code or Local Law.
  • Burning of Road Verges is prohibited.


Common Errors

May is traditionally the busiest month for the Shire’s Bush Fire Service with the majority of attendances caused by:

  • Lack of consideration or understanding of conditions.
  • Lack of communication with stakeholders (neighbours).
  • Lack of compliance with remaining restrictions.
  • Lack of preparation and/or resources.
  • Lack of supervision.

If in doubt, don’t burn!


Finally, please consider how your decisions and actions could affect our hard-working volunteer firefighters.

On behalf of the Shire’s Bush Fire Service, we hope to not to be meeting you at your place any time soon!

BOM MetEye Link:

Swan Inland North:

SMS Notification Service:


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