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Total Fire Ban – Stage 2

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Bush fire safety


The ‘Total Fire Ban’ safety message explores the issue of the rules applicable to Total Fire Ban days.

Bush fires can occur at any time, but are more likely and can be more dangerous in particular areas and at certain times of the year. During this ‘Fire Danger Season’ (also known as ‘Bush Fire Season’ or ‘Bush Fire Danger Season’), restrictions are placed on various activities to help reduce the risk of a bush fire starting. Rural areas are divided into ‘fire ban districts’. Some days will be declared as ‘Total Fire Ban’ days, due to a combination of factors that increase bush fire risks.

It is recommended that you view the background information for teachers before undertaking this lesson.

Links to NSW Curriculum


Environment strand

  • ENS2.5 – describes places in the local area and other parts of Australia and explains their significance.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Personal Health strand

  • PHS2.12 – discusses the factors influencing personal health choices.

Safe Living strand

  • SLS2.13 – discusses how safe practices promote personal wellbeing.


  • EN2-11D – responds to and composes a range of texts that express viewpoints of the world similar to and different from their own.


  • ST2-8ES – describes some observable changes over time on the Earth's surface that result from natural processes and human activity.
  • ST2-9ES – describes how relationships between the sun and the Earth cause regular changes.

Learning outcomes

Participating in this lesson will help students to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Students will consider why certain activities are banned on a Total Fire Ban day.
  • Students will learn how the Fire Danger Rating system helps them to be better prepared in the event of a bushfire.


Lesson steps

As a class, watch the 'Total Fire Ban' video. Ask students to discuss the safety message, record their responses. Questions could include:

  • What were the activities that could not be done during a Total Fire Ban?
  • Why couldn't Trev's dad use the welder?
  • Jimmy said that they could have a barbecue if they followed what?

In the video Jimmy says that the day is a Total Fire Ban day. Ask students what they think this means. What sorts of things or activities do students think would be banned on a Total Fire Ban day? Why? Visit the website of your state or territory fire agency to check if suggestions are correct or incorrect.

Display the 'Total Fire Ban Choices' activity sheet on an interactive whiteboard and have students determine if each of the listed activities is acceptable on a day of Total Fire Ban. Discuss reasons for the choices. Students could also complete this individually on a hard copy.
Display the NSW RFS 'Fire Danger Ratings' chart. Discuss each of the ratings. Explain that the ratings are determined by many factors including amount of rainfall, time since last rainfall, drought, humidity, air temperature, etc. Working in pairs, students to complete the 'What's the Rating?' activity sheet.

Please note: you may need to spend some time discussing how weather factors affect Fire Danger Ratings before undertaking this activity. There is more information in the 'Teacher Background' video and the Fire Danger Ratings fact sheet.

When all pairs have finished go through each scenario as a class and ask students to justify their choices (it is important that students understand the factors that go into deciding the danger rating). Designate areas of the classroom to represent each of the rating categories and have students move from one area to another to read each of the scenarios.

Further activities

Here are some suggested extra activities to extend the students' learning.

  • Invite someone from your state or territory fire agency to speak to the class about Fire Danger Ratings and how they are calculated in the field. They could also speak about Total Fire Bans and ways to prepare for bushfire season.
  • Students to research what a fire needs to start and stay alight.
  • Make a 'Fire Danger Rating' chart. Display it in the classroom or at home.
  • During fire season, select a class member to be responsible for checking the fire rating and warnings each day. Make a chart or board where he/she can write the information so everyone can see it.

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Australiasian Fire and Emergency Services Council