WHAT IS AN OPEN FIRE SEASON?
An open season means that it is safe for you to light an outside fire without a permit from Fire and Emergency - as long as you do so safely, keep it under control, put it out properly, and have permission from the relevant land owner or occupier.
However, if Fire and Emergency has prohibited the lighting of fires in open air in the area, you can't light an outside fire even if the area is otherwise in an open fire season.
WHAT IS A FIRE IN OPEN AIR?
A fire in open air is essentially an outside fire.
Legally, it means any fire that is not:
Find out more about fire types here.
DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR AN OPEN AIR FIRE IN AN OPEN FIRE SEASON?
No. You can light a fire in open air without a fire permit - as long as you do so safely, keep it under control, put it out properly, and have permission from the relevant land owner or occupier.
You also need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act.
You will need to get a fire permit if Fire and Emergency prohibits the lighting of fires in open air in your area, even though the area is otherwise in an open fire season.
You can still go to Fire and Emergency for fire safety advice, weather forecasts and risk reduction information. Visit checkitsalright.nz or contact 0800 658 628 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT FIRE SEASONS?
Go to the season status definitions page on this website to understand what each fire season means.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THE FIRE SEASON IS IN MY AREA?
Visit checkitsalright.nz to check the current fire season in the location of your proposed fire.
THE FIRE SEASON IN MY AREA IS OPEN EXCEPT FOR COASTAL AREAS. HOW FAR FROM THE COASTLINE IS CONSIDERED TO BE A COASTAL AREA?
This will depend on the specific fire risks in your location and the fire plan for the local area. Visit checkitsalright.nz to check if you need a permit in the location of your proposed fire.
WHEN WILL THE FIRE SEASON CHANGE?
Fire seasons are changed depending on the weather and other conditions that heighten or lessen the risk of the outbreak or spread of fire. Fire seasons can change quickly, so always check before lighting.
Visit checkitsalright.nz to check the current fire season in the location of your proposed fire.
DO I NEED PERMISSION FROM THE LANDOWNER OR OCCUPIER TO LIGHT A FIRE?
Yes. You need permission from the landowner or occupier to light a fire on their land.
CAN I LIGHT A FIRE ON PUBLIC CONSERVATION LAND?
There is a year round restricted fire season on public conservation land. You will need approval from the Department of Conservation (DOC) Regional Director and a fire permit from Fire and Emergency, except for:
DO I NEED TO NOTIFY ANYONE BEFORE I LIGHT A FIRE?
You only need to notify Fire and Emergency before you light your fire if it's a condition on your fire permit. However, as a courtesy you may like to notify neighbours, as they may be concerned about the fire or the smoke from the fire may impact them. You also need to consider the potential impact on nearby public spaces, like parks or roads. Notifying neighbours of your plans can also reduce the likelihood of unnecessary 111 emergency calls.
DO I NEED A PERMIT TO LIGHT A FIRE INSIDE?
No. Fire permits issued by Fire and Emergency are for fires in the open air.
CAN I LIGHT AN OUTSIDE FIRE AT NIGHT?
In general, it's not a good idea to light big fires at night as they look bigger and more dangerous than during the day, so members of the public are more likely to be concerned.
If a restricted or prohibited fire season has been declared, your permit may have conditions around the time of day you can light your fire.
WHAT FIRES CAN I LIGHT IN A RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED FIRE SEASON WITHOUT A PERMIT?
Fire and Emergency allows some types of fire to be lit in open air during restricted or prohibited fire seasons. You can find out more about these authorised fire types here.
WHAT IS A FIRE PERMIT?
A fire permit allows you to light a fire in open air in a specified location during a restricted or prohibited fire season, or when a prohibition on fires in open air is in place. The permit will have conditions that you must follow, including as to where and when you can light your fire.
It's an offence to knowingly or recklessly light a fire without a fire permit during a restricted or prohibited fire season, or when a prohibition on fire in open air is in effect.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A FIRE PERMIT?
Your location, the fire season status, and the specific type of fire you want to light will determine if you need a fire permit. Visit checkitsalright.nz to check if you need to apply for a permit in the location of your proposed fire.
Some authorised fire types may be allowed in your area without a permit during a restricted or prohibited fire season. If you are unsure, the permit application process will identify if you need a permit.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A FIRE PERMIT?
Visit checkitsalright.nz to apply for a fire permit.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO APPLY FOR A FIRE PERMIT?
It should take you 5 to 10 minutes to apply for a simple fire permit, but more complex burns could take longer.
You should receive your fire permit by email within 5 to 10 working days, depending if an onsite inspection is required. Permits that need to be sent in the mail may take up to 5 working days longer.
HOW LONG DO FIRE PERMITS LAST FOR?
Your fire permit will have a start and end date on it - your location, the fire season status, and the specific type of fire you want to light will be taken into account when Fire and Emergency determines how long your permit will last.
However, if Fire and Emergency declares a prohibited fire season or prohibits fire in open air, all permits issued in a restricted season will be automatically suspended, so you will no longer be able to light your proposed fire without getting a new permit or until the suspension is lifted.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY FIRE PERMIT IF THE SEASON CHANGES FROM A RESTRICTED TO PROHIBITED FIRE SEASON OR IF FIRE IS PROHIBITED IN OPEN AIR?
Your fire permit is automatically suspended if the season is changed to prohibited or if fire is prohibited in open air in your location.
You cannot light a fire in a prohibited season, or if fire has been prohibited in open air, unless you have obtained a new fire permit that responds to those controls.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME TO GET A FIRE PERMIT?
There is no charge for a fire permit.
HOW LONG DOES MY FIRE PERMIT TAKE TO GET TO ME?
If no onsite inspection is required, you should receive your fire permit by email within 5 working days.
If an onsite inspection is required, you should receive your fire permit by email within 10 workings days. Permits that need to be sent in the mail may take up to 5 working days longer.
To avoid being delayed, plan and apply for your fire permit early.
You need to have your permit with you, in either paper or electronic form, from the time you start preparing your fire to the time it is put out.
WHY DOES THE PROCESS TAKE SO LONG? I USED TO GET MY FIRE PERMIT IMMEDIATELY AND NEED TO LIGHT MY PROPOSED FIRE TOMORROW
Fire and Emergency needs to allow enough time to properly assess your application to help you light your proposed fire safely during a restricted or prohibited fire season, or when a prohibition on lighting fires in open air is in place. This is because the current weather or other fire risk conditions, or matters relating to fire control, make it generally unsafe to light your fire.
Fire and Emergency endeavours to respond to fire permit applications within 5 days for fires that don't require an onsite inspection, and within 10 days for fires that do require an onsite inspection.
DOES THE FIRE PERMIT HAVE TO BE IN THE LANDOWNER'S NAME?
No. The permit needs to be in the name of the person lighting a fire; however, you will also need permission from the landowner or occupier before lighting your fire.
WHY CAN'T I GET A FIRE PERMIT FROM MY LOCAL COUNCIL?
Councils no longer have the legal ability to declare fire seasons or to issue fire permits. Councils can set requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act.
As of 1 July 2018, Fire and Emergency declares fire seasons and issues fire permits in all locations (urban and rural).
IF FIRE AND EMERGENCY GRANTS ME A FIRE PERMIT, DO I STILL HAVE TO COMPLY WITH COUNCIL REQUIREMENTS AROUND THINGS LIKE SMOKE NUISANCE AND REGIONAL COUNCIL BURNING RESTRICTIONS?
Yes. You still need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act, even if you are issued a fire permit by Fire and Emergency.
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A FIRE PERMIT TO BURN ONE TYPE OF MATERIAL, BUT I WANT TO BURN ANOTHER MATERIAL LATER IN THE YEAR?
Your permit is only valid for the type of burn material identified on the fire permit.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET A FIRE PERMIT FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR?
Yes, Permits may be issued for up to 5 years. Irrespective of how long your fire permit lasts for, before lighting you always need to check the forecasted weather, and whether a prohibited fire season has been declared or a prohibition on fire in open air imposed.
I WANT TO HAVE TWO FIRES ON MY PROPERTY, DO I NEED ONE OR TWO PERMITS?
You can fill in one application for different fire types/materials at multiple locations on a single property. Fire and Emergency will then either issue one permit, with different conditions for each location, or issue separate permits for each fire.
DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR A VERY SMALL FIRE?
There is no minimum or maximum size limit for fires in the open air.
Your location, the fire season status, and the specific type of fire you want to light will determine if you need a fire permit. Visit checkitsalright.nz to check if you need to apply for a permit.
CAN I BURN IF I HAVE A FIRE PERMIT PENDING?
No. You must have received the fire permit before you can light your fire.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LIGHT A FIRE WITHOUT A FIRE PERMIT DURING A RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED FIRE SEASON?
It is an offence under the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 to knowingly or recklessly light a fire in open air without a fire permit, if a restricted or prohibited fire season has been declared or if a prohibition on the lighting of fires in open air is in place in an area.
I HAVE A FIRE PERMIT THAT WAS APPROVED BEFORE 1 JULY 2017, IS IT STILL VALID?
Your fire permit may still be valid. Fire permits issued before 1 July 2017 under the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 are valid until they expire or are revoked by Fire and Emergency.
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:
WHY DO I NEED A FIRE PERMIT TO HAVE A FIRE ON THE BEACH?
The fire season status will determine whether a permit is required. Visit checkitsalright.nz to check if you need to apply for a permit.
It is important to note that local territorial authority/landowner rules vary around New Zealand. You need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions.
If open fires are permitted it is strongly recommended to light the fire below the high tide mark.
Scrub-type vegetation that is commonly located by beaches is highly flammable and fires on beaches are more likely to get out of control due to wind changes throughout the day, which often change to an on-shore direction. Fires can also result in injury to the public if hot embers are left on a public beach and people with bare feet walk on them.
By controlling the location and imposing conditions on a fire, a fire permit helps to protect other members of the public and surrounding properties from the risk that the fire might get out of control and spread.
Visit Fire and Emergency's fire permit website to check if you need to apply for a fire permit.
HOW DO I MAKE A COMPLAINT TO FIRE AND EMERGENCY ABOUT FIRE PERMITTING?
Go to the complaints and disputes section on the Fire and Emergency contacts page to lodge a complaint or notify us of a dispute.
HOW DO I MAKE A COMPLAINT ABOUT SMOKE FROM A FIRE?
If the smoke is causing a safety concern, such as smoke across the road, please call 111.
If your complaint is about a smoke nuisance from a neighbouring property, please call your city/district council or regional council's pollution hotline.
MY NEIGHBOUR HAS LIT A FIRE AND I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE A PERMIT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you think there is an immediate danger, call 111.
Fire permits are only required in a restricted or prohibited fire season. Check your local fire season status on checkitsalright.nz; if it is an open fire season your neighbour will not need a fire permit.
I THINK MY NEIGHBOUR'S PROPERTY IS A FIRE RISK, WHO SHOULD I CALL?
As of 1 July 2018, Fire and Emergency has powers in relation to fire hazard removal. To lodge a complaint or get more information, visit https://fireandemergency.nz/at-home/overgrown-sections/