Total Fire Bans (TOBANs)

Total Fire Bans are enforced when conditions are such that the spread and control of a wildfire would be extremely difficult and where the community is at significant risk of injury/death and loss of property as a result of fire.

Subscribe to receive Total Fire Ban (TOBAN) notifications via email from ESA.

Why are Total Fire Bans (TOBANs) declared?

On days of elevated fire danger, increased fire activity or when forecast weather conditions are likely to increase the spread of fire, the ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner may declare a TOBAN for all, or part of the ACT.

A TOBAN may also be declared as a preventative measure for reasons such as:

  • The number, nature, or location of existing fires
  • Severe forecast weather conditions over the coming days
  • The decision to issue a TOBAN is usually made the day before, starting at midnight and lasting 24 hours. This can be extended or reduced.

Total Fire Ban rules

The community should remain vigilant at all times on days of TOBANs. The community should take caution while driving or parking vehicles in long open grassed areas, mowing yards, or visiting remote wilderness or forested areas.

During a TOBAN, it is an offence for a person to (unless an exemption is issued):

  • Light, maintain or use a fire in the open air
  • Undertake a high-risk activity such as welding, grinding, soldering, gas cutting and the use of slashers and harvesting machinery in rural areas as these are activities which may cause fire to ignite

During a TOBAN you are allowed to use gas or electric cooking appliances if:

  • The BBQ is under constant adult supervision and attendance
  • The BBQ is clear of materials that could burn
  • A fire extinguisher or continuous water supply of water is available for use to extinguish a fire if needed
  • Electric BBQs in Parks and Reserves including the National Arboretum Canberra and in Canberra’s urban parks will be available, however all gas BBQs will be turned off. 
  • Visit esa.act.gov.au or call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 for more information on Total Fire Bans including closures to nature reserves and roads.

How to stay up to date with Total Fire Ban information

Subscribe to receive TOBAN notifications via email from the ACT Emergency Services Agency - TOBAN Subscription | ACT Emergency Services Agency

Keep up to date with the latest information on the ACT Emergency Services Agency website and social channels

Fire permits

Fire permits are suspended on days of TOBAN. Permits may resume after the TOBAN is lifted, Permit holders must comply to permit conditions and ensure that the permit has not expired.

Total Fire Ban exemptions

A range of activities may be exempt from TOBANs, such as emergency infrastructure work, beehive smokers, use of fireworks or ceremonial fires. The ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner is responsible for exemptions of TOBANs. Exemptions are considered on a case by case basis

How to apply for a Total Fire Ban exemption

If you want to light a fire or carry out any hot works activities during a TOBAN you need to apply for an exemption through the ACT Emergency Services Agency. 

Initial contact should be made through rfs@act.gov.au