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:

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.

Link to NT penalty units

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.

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.

Fire bans

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 the local radio, Bushfires NT newsroom and by roadside signs in built-up areas. Fire Ban information is available at

All permits to burn are void 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.

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