Permits and lighting fires
Find out when and where you need a permit to light a fire in the Northern Territory (NT).
When you need a permit
You must have a permit to light a fire in the following NT fire protection zones:
- Northern protection zone
- Katherine fire protection zone
- Tennant Creek fire protection zone
- Alice Springs fire protection zone
The only exception is for a cooking fire, provided you have a clear area 4m around the fire, it is always attended and it is thoroughly extinguished before you leave.
When conditions are safe, landowners outside of fire protection zones can use a fire to reduce fuel loads or create firebreaks, providing they can control the fire.
Penalty for not having a permit
If you light a fire without a permit in a fire protection zone you may be fined up to 500 penalty units or imprisoned for up to five years.
How to get a permit
In towns and built-up areas you can get a permit from the NT Fire and Rescue Service. Read more about permits to burn on the Police, Fire and Emergency Services website.
In rural fire protection zones you can get a permit from your local volunteer bushfire brigade or fire warden.
For information about permits in rural areas, contact Bushfires NT.
Changes to regular permit conditions
During fire season, further restrictions may apply to permits.
Fire danger periods
A fire danger period can be declared for either the whole or part of the Territory for a specific period of time. Any area specified under a declaration of fire danger period is known as a fire danger area.
During a fire danger period, all landowners within a fire danger area must have a permit to burn.
A fire ban may be declared for either the whole or part of the Territory for a period of up to 24 hours when fire conditions are very dangerous. Bans are announced on local radio and by roadside signs in built-up areas.
All permits to burn are void on during a fire ban period.
If you are using fire immediately before a ban is declared, you must put the fire out. Careful use of cooking fires is allowed.
If you start a fire during a fire ban period, even if one starts from your cooking fire, you could be charged the maximum penalty or face imprisonment.