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Operation Cool Burn

By March 29, 2021November 29th, 2021No Comments

Controlled Burn Application Form for Council-controlled Road Reserves

Uncontrolled bushfires present a very real human tragedy. The consequences of the loss of property, life and livestock associated with catastrophic bushfires are incalculable.

Operation Cool Burn is a key period when Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has a particular focus on bushfire mitigation. Most years, this period starts at the beginning of April and is normally scheduled to finish at the end of July. This period can be extended if necessary, for example if there is widespread unseasonal rainfall which impacts on planned burning.

During Operation Cool Burn, QFES supports its land management agency partners such as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Resources, HQ Plantations (Queensland’s largest plantation forest company), local governments and landholders across the State to prepare for the coming bushfire season.

Mareeba Shire Council supports Operation Cool Burn and has streamlined the process for landowners seeking to undertake a controlled burn on Council-controlled road reserves adjacent to their property. Applicants can contact Council prior to applying to confirm if the road reserve requested to be burned is under the control of Council.

The process:

  1. Applicant requests approval from Council to burn Council-controlled area adjacent property via application form at least 10 working days prior to burning.
  2. Council will assess application and respond within 5 working days.
  3. Applicant requires separate permit to burn from QFES.
  4. If approved, applicant to notify Council 24 hours prior to burning
  5. Burn takes places as per Council’s standard conditions and QFES requirements
  6. Approved applicant completes and returns post-burn report to Council within 10 working days of burning.


Standard Conditions for Burning of Council-controlled Road Reserves:

Note: This authorisation is for burning of Mareeba Shire Council-controlled road reserves abutting the applicant’s property only.


  1. The holder of this approval must also obtain a permit to burn from the Local Fire Warden, issued under Section 65 of the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 and abide by all conditions stated therein.
  2. If the applicant chooses to proceed without the presence of the Rural Fire Brigade then they will need to obtain, for the period of burn, public liability cover of at least $20 million with a reputable insurer, noting Council’s interest and indemnifying Council for all manner of public liabilities associated with this matter.
  3. Appropriate measures are taken to ensure that the safety of travelling motorists is not endangered by low visibility due to smoke from the burn off.
  4. The holder of this approval is required to take due care for the protection of all Council property (including signs, guide posts, guard rails, bridges, traffic counters, etc) and the property of any other service provider operating legitimately within the Road Reserve (e.g. Ergon, Telstra, Sunwater). In order to achieve this, all combustible material within 3 metres of such property must be cleared so that there is no likelihood of the property being damaged by heat or flames.
  5. The holder of this approval shall give a minimum of 24 hours’ notice of the burn to FIRECOM 1800 642 490, and Council 1300 308 461.
  6. At least two (2) days prior to commencement to the burn, the holder of this permit shall consult with all adjoining and neighbouring owners, informing them of the duration and potential impact (e.g. smoke, limited access) of the burn.
  7. The holder of this approval shall advise the Council of any problems encountered during this consultation process. Council reserves the right to withdraw an approval if problems/ conflicts are unable to be resolved.

Signage Conditions:

  1. Where visibility on nearby roads could be impaired, the following minimum signage must be installed prior to commencement of burning. An approved ‘Smoke Hazard’ or other relevant signs must be erected for the duration of the burn off activity. Council does not provide signage. Such signs must face approaching traffic from each direction and be erected so that:
    1. they are on the road shoulder, no closer than 1m from the edge of the traffic line;
    2. they can be clearly seen by approaching drivers from at least 150 metres;
    3. they are not obstructed from the drivers view by either vegetation or parked vehicles; and
    4. they are securely mounted and not likely to be dislodged by wind from passing vehicles.
  2. When deemed necessary by the Rural Fire Brigade, accredited Traffic Controllers must be in attendance during the burn-off. Cost of Traffic Controllers is the responsibility of the applicant.
  3. The holder of this approval shall abide by all instructions and directions issued by the Accredited Traffic Controllers or Rural Fire Brigade.

Burning Activities:

  1. Where practicable, burning should be conducted in a manner and under conditions that will preserve native vegetation (both established and regrowth) including for example, burning away from stands of vegetation and maintaining low intensity fire conditions.
  2. Burning must be conducted in a manner that will enable fauna to take refuge from the area.
  3. Burning must be contained within the area approved. Adequate personnel and equipment must be available during burning to prevent the fire from escaping.
  4. Before vacating the site, holder of this approval must take care to ensure that all fire hazards have been extinguished. Any trees that are unstable must be felled.

Weather Conditions:

  1. If a local Fire Ban is active in the area the proposed burn must not be attempted until the ban has been lifted by QFES.
  2. Proposed Burn must not proceed if weather conditions are outside the specified parameters stated on QFES fire Permit.


  1. The Post Burn report must be submitted to Council within 10 working days of the completion of burning.