Flying near bushfires

In Australia’s harsh climate, bushfires are a major hazard during and in the lead-up to the warmer months. With longer and hotter summers, the chance of a bushfire breaking out is increasingly likely.

Recent events have demonstrated the need for each state and territory's fire service to prepare for busy bushfire seasons.

This means there’s a lot more activity in the airspace in rural and remote areas. This can have implications for general aviation pilots and drone operators.

Fixed wing and rotary aircraft

Crewed aircraft should remain 5 nm and 3,000 ft AGL away from fire boundaries.

If aircraft are detected within these limits, it could force aerial firefighting units to ground. This could delay efforts to contain the fire and increase the chance of damage to property and loss of life.

Pilots should check before planning their flight. They should also consult their local rural fire service website for specific information related to bushfires in their state or territory:


Drones are great for getting that picture perfect shot, but they are a major hazard to aerial firefighting aircraft. Drones are small and difficult to detect.

You should never fly drones around or into bushfires.

For further information around rules for drone operation, visit Know Your Drone.

Last updated:
23 Nov 2023
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