FAQs

Fire Permits

DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR A SPECIFIC TYPE OF FIRE IN MY AREA?

Go to the Check Urban Fire Season Status page on this website and click Check & Apply Now. Select the required Region, Council and Area from the dropdown lists to display the fire season status for your area. You can see if a permit is currently needed for the area.

DO I NEED TO GO TO FIRE AND EMERGENCY FOR ALL URBAN FIRE PERMITTING?

Fire and Emergency will start exercising fire control powers, rather than councils, progressively through to 1 July 2018, as councils decide to revoke their fire control bylaws or bylaws expire. If Fire and Emergency has not put fire controls in place in your area you will be directed to your council. 

WHAT DO I NEED A FIRE PERMIT FOR?

This can vary across different areas, however in a restricted season you need a permit to light a fire in the open air.

Fires in open air include:

  • camp fires
  • bonfires
  • rubbish fires
  • braziers

Types of fire which have been authorised as not being fires in open air (which don't need a fire permit even during a restricted or prohibited season) might include:

  • enclosed gas BBQs
  • charcoal BBQs
  • approved incinerators
  • permanent outdoor fireplaces
  • cultural fires, e.g. hangi or umu

Go to the Check Urban Fire Season Status page on this website and click Check & Apply Now. Select the required Region, Council and Area from the dropdown lists to display the information for your area.

MY FIRE PERMIT EXPIRED LAST WEEK. CAN I STILL USE IT?

No. If there is a Restricted or Prohibited fire season in place, you'll need to apply for a new permit.


Fire Permit Applications

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PERMIT IN MY AREA?

Go to the checkitsalright.nz website and click Check & Apply Now.
Select the required Region, Council and Area from the dropdown lists to display the fire season status for your area. You can see if a permit is currently needed. 

Click Apply for Permit to apply for a permit in your area, then complete and submit the application form.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR AN ANSWER ON MY PERMIT APPLICATION?

This can differ depending on how many permit applications are currently being processed in your area, whether you have provided all of the information we need to assess the application, and the complexity of the proposed fire.

If you want to check the status of your application you can contact Fire and Emergency on 0800 658 628.


Fire Seasons

WHAT IS FIRE IN OPEN AIR?

Any fire other than in:

  • a fireplace that is located in a building or structure that complies with any relevant requirement of the Building Act 2004 and the relevant district plan; or
  • a place or thing, or a type of place or thing, that is:
    • prescribed by regulations made under section 187 of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017; or
    • authorised by Fire and Emergency.

Search for your area on checkitsalright.nz and find out what fires are authorised as not being a fire in open air.

WHAT IS THE FIRE SEASON IN MY AREA?

Go to the Check Urban Fire Season Status page on this website and click Check & Apply Now. Select the required Region, Council and Area from the dropdown lists to display the fire season status for your area.

WHAT DOES A RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED FIRE SEASON MEAN?

Restricted - A permit is needed to light a fire in open air.

Prohibited - There is a total ban on the lighting of any fires in open air.

Types of fire which have been authorised as not being fires in open air (which don't need a fire permit even during a Restricted or Prohibited fire season) might include:

  • enclosed gas BBQs
  • charcoal BBQs
  • approved incinerators
  • permanent outdoor fireplaces
  • cultural fires, e.g. hangi or umu

Go to the Status Definitions page on this website to understand what each fire season means.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF FIRE IN OPEN AIR IS PROHIBITED?

When fire in open air has been prohibited, any fire permits for that area are suspended while the prohibition is in place.

A permit holder may reapply for a permit during the prohibition if they need a burn. Fire and Emergency may only grant a permit to prevent, reduce or overcome any hazard to life, because of any other serious emergency, or if weather conditions have eased.

WHAT DOES AN OPEN SEASON MEAN?

Open - No fire permit is needed to light a fire in open air.

Go to the Status Definitions page on this website to understand what each fire season means.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF ACTIVITIES ARE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED?

Fire and Emergency may prohibit or restrict an activity in a specific area, including access to the area, if it considers the activity may cause a fire to start or spread. 

Fire and Emergency can’t grant a fire permit for prohibited activities.


Fire in Urban Area

DO I NEED A FIRE PERMIT FOR A FIRE IN AN URBAN AREA?

A fire permit may be needed from Fire and Emergency if you're planning to light a fire in open air. This depends on the urban fire season status. If there is a Restricted or Prohibited fire season in place, you'll need a permit to light a fire in open air. You can check the status definitions here and the current status for your location here.

HOW DO I MAKE A COMPLAINT ABOUT SMOKE FROM A FIRE IN AN URBAN AREA?

If the smoke is causing a safety concern, please call 111, e.g. smoke across the road. If your complaint is about a smoke nuisance a neighbouring property, please call your council or regional council’s pollution hotline.

WHY DOES MY FIRE PERMIT HAVE A CONDITION THAT SAYS I CAN’T BURN OUTSIDE DAYLIGHT HOURS?

This will generally be for two main reasons:

  1. There is a safety issue with monitoring a fire in the dark. If a fire outbreak occurred, it would cause safety concerns for the public and responders.
  2. Fires at night attract attention as they look much bigger than they are. They are more likely to result in emergency calls to 111 because it’s harder to determine if the situation is safe.

WHY CAN I NOT HAVE A FIRE ON THE BEACH WITHOUT A PERMIT?

Fires on the beach are very susceptible to wind changes throughout the day. Scrub-type vegetation that is commonly located by beaches is highly flammable. There are safety concerns for other members of the public. This also aims to protect surrounding properties, in case a fire was to escape.

WHY ARE SOME FIRE PERMITS GRANTED FOR FIRES ON THE BEACH AND OTHERS ARE NOT?

Fire risk conditions are assessed for each application and a decision made to grant or refuse a permit. For example Fire and Emergency will determine how easily accessible the burn location is, should they be required to attend.

IF FIRE AND EMERGENCY GRANTS ME A FIRE PERMIT DO I STILL HAVE TO COMPLY WITH COUNCIL BYLAWS OR REGIONAL COUNCIL REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO SMOKE NUISANCE FROM FIRES?

You still need to comply with any Council bylaws and Regional Council requirements relating to smoke nuisance and discharges to the air, even if you are issued with a fire permit by Fire and Emergency.

HOW DO I MAKE A COMPLAINT TO FIRE AND EMERGENCY ABOUT FIRE PERMITTING?

You can go to the Complaints and disputes section on the Fire and Emergency Contacts page and lodge a complaint or dispute.


Other

DO I NEED TO NOTIFY ANYONE BEFORE I LIGHT A FIRE?

Only if it's a condition of your fire permit. If it's not a stated condition, or if you don't need a fire permit (e.g. if it's an Open season), there is no requirement to notify Fire and Emergency. There may be people you can choose to notify as a courtesy, such as your neighbours. You'll still need to comply with other controls including under the Resource Management Act 1991 and any Council bylaws relevant to you.