Let's Reduce Smoke in Roleystone

During winter Roleystone can be enveloped in a smoke haze. These occurrences have reduced in recent years but smoke is still a major environmental and health problem for our community. This problem is particularly hazardous for residents with asthma who have to leave the district or stay indoors on smoke haze days.

Occasionally smoke haze is caused by forest fires but usually it is actions by Roleystone residents who cause the smoke. The main causes are:

  • Burning garden rubbish
  • Poor management of wood heaters

We can greatly reduce the number of smoke haze days by:

  • Not burning garden rubbish and using the green waste pick-up service provided by the Council.
  • Only burning seasoned wood in the wood heater according to the Dept of Environment guidelines.

For more information go to City of Armadale Air Pollution

Burning Garden Rubbish

There are Council regulations about burning garden rubbish which virtually outlaws this practice...


Burning prohibited except in certain circumstances

49. (1) Except as provided in subclause (2), an owner or occupier of land whose area does not exceed 1200 square metres shall not set fire to, or cause             or allow to be set on fire, any rubbish or refuse whatsoever on that land.

      (2) Not relevant to private householders

      (3) Not relevant to private householders

      (4) Not relevant to private householders

      (5) An owner or occupier of land whose area exceeds 1200 square metres and who is not exempted by the provisions of subclause (2) shall not set               fire to, or cause or allow to be set on fire, any rubbish or refuse on that land, whether in an incinerator or on the ground, other than when the       material to be burnt.

(a) does not include any plastic, rubber, food scraps, green garden materials or other material which causes the generation of smoke or odour in such quantity as to cause a nuisance to any other person;

(b) is of such quantity, or of such nature, as not to be suitable for removal by the Council's refuse collection service; and

(c) there is no other appropriate means of disposal.

     (6) Burning shall not take place during any period for which an air dispersion alert has been issued by the Western Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Clause 5 is the most relevant to Roleystone residents because of our block sizes. This clause clearly states that it is illegal to generate smoke or odour in such a quantity to cause a nuisance to other people. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to burn garden waste without causing smoke. If smoke from the burning a pile of waste in the open is causing you a nuisance then this should be reported to the City of Armadale (93990111 during work hours or 1300 886 885 after hours). It is the Ranger's responsibility to investigate the cause of the smoke and counsel the resident on the burning regulations.

Managing Wood Heaters

Managing a woodheater takes time, effort and planning. All woodheaters, when operated well, should produce heat without smoke. You can help to improve Roleystone's air quality and ensure our community breathes easier by operating your woodheater better.

The secret of successful burning:

How a typical modern woodheater works:

smoke.8Primary air [A] is drawn in through a sliding or hinged air control mechanism, usually above the door. The air is preheated before being directed down the inside of the door, helping to keep the glass clean. It then enters the base of the fire. This primary air supply determines how quickly the firewood burns.

Secondary air [B] is heated to a high temperature before entering the firebox just below the baffle. This air does not influence how fast the fire burns, but is critical in ensuring a strong flame and a clean burn, even when the heater is burning slowly.
When wood is completely burned, you are left with carbon dioxide and water vapour, which escape into the air, and an ash residue.


Complete combustion is important to the performance of your wood heater and to reduce woodsmoke. The following conditions are needed for your woodheater to achieve complete combustion:

  • dry, seasoned firewood;
  • a fire that is hot enough;
  • sufficient air flow to provide enough oxygen for combustion;
  • sufficient mixing of air and the hot gases given off by the fire;and
  • enough time for burning to be complete.

If there is a lack of any or all of the above, incomplete burning will occur. You can tell if you have enough heat, air and mixing if the coals are glowing brightly and there are bright swirling flames. Dark, smoldering fuel and a lot of smoke in the firebox indicate incomplete burning.

Incomplete combustion will lead to the generation of toxic pollutants, such as particles and carbon monoxide, and also means you are wasting both wood and money.

It is so easy to check if your woodheater is working properly - just look at your chimney to see how much smoke is being generated.

The website Hot Tips for Cleaner Wood Heating from the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage contains all you need to know to reduce the level of smoke coming from your wood heater. Here are the quick tips from their webpage.

Quick Tips to Reduce Woodsmoke

  • Always use properly seasoned dry wood in your woodheater
  • Get a hot fire going quickly with plenty of paper and small kindling
  • Keep air controls set high enough to keep your fire burning brightly
  • Only use larger pieces of wood when the fire is well established
  • Check you chimney or flue at least once every evening for smoke
  • Consider the well-being of your neighbours

For further reading, visit Dept of Water and Environmental Regulation