Sugar cane burning practice and the behaviour of cane fires were studied in three cane growing areas of Queensland. The major factors affecting cane fire behaviour are described. Four of these factors - temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and cane conditon - are integrated by a circular cane burning meter to give a cane burning index. This index is used in a cane burning guide to define the burning operations, the minimum down-wind break and the minimum number of men recommended for various weather conditions. Components which can be assembled into an operating meter are appended. Recommendations are made on the use of the meter in making cane burning forecasts, in determining suitable hours for burning and in recognising conditions of extreme fire weather when a total ban should be enforced Weather phenomena likely to cause sudden and unexpected changes of wind direction are described.