Smoke and Outdoor Cooking

Wood Heaters and Outdoor Cooking Facilities

Smoke from incorrectly operated wood heaters and outdoor cooking facilities can cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties and reduces air quality. It also creates a dangerous environment to people who suffer from respiratory illnesses. Town of Cambridge Health Local Law 2016 section 4.3 makes it an offense for an owner or occupier of a premises to permit the escape of smoke which causes a nuisance.

Correctly operated wood heaters and outdoor cooking facilities using the right fuel should only ever emit small amounts of visible smoke when first lit and then the colour should fade completely shortly after.  The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) have great community resources on how to correctly operate these types of facilities. These also cover:

  • additional information on buying and selling wood heaters;
  • their health impacts;
  • alternative options available for home heating and their associated air quality impacts; and
  • troubleshooting. 

Visit the Deparment of Water and Environmental Regulation website 

For tips on how to ensure your wood heater is correctly operated please refer to DWER’s BurnWise brochure “Store right, burn bright, breather all right”.

For tips on how to correctly regulate your outdoor cooking facility please refer to DWER’s BurnWise brochure "Smoke from backyard barbeques, chimineas and outdoor pizza ovens".

Please take note under the Bushfires Act 1954 lighting of fires is prohibited on total fire ban days. 

Teenage friends sit round a fire pit toasting marshmallows


Having an Issue with Smoke Nuisance?

  1. The Town encourages residents on the first instance to first speak with the person producing the smoke. In most occurrences the property owner is not aware that they are causing a smoke nuisance. Printing out a DWER brochure and giving it to them directly or leaving it in your neighbour’s mailbox may also help.
  2. If the person is not approachable, or you have concerns with approaching the person or the person is not helpful in trying to resolve the issue, you may contact a Town of Cambridge Environmental Health Officer on 9347 6000. 


Backyard Burning

Backyard burning is prohibited within the Town of Cambridge. Please refer to the Town’s webpage for further information.