Open air fires - rules and permits

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Open air fires - rules and permits

*Download a PDF version of the Fire Types Table

Fire Type

Description

Conditions you need to follow if the fire type is authorised

Restricted season

Prohibited season

Gas-operated appliances

Manufactured gas-operated appliances, such as barbeques, outdoor fireplaces and outdoor gas heaters.

Authorised fire type

Authorised fire type

Charcoal barbeques or grills

Barbeques or grills that use either charcoal briquettes or natural lump charcoal as their fuel source.

  • Don’t use on an apartment balcony, deck, under a roof overhang or within other enclosed areas.

Authorised fire type

Authorised fire type

Wood-fire pizza oven

Also known as wood ovens, these are ovens that use wood fuel for cooking.

  • Don’t light your fire within three metres of any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
  • In case your fire gets out of control, you must have a suitable way to extinguish it within five metres of your chiminea or pizza-oven, such as a water hose, mechanical digger, or water sprayer.

Authorised fire type

Authorised fire type

Chiminea

A freestanding front-loading fireplace or oven with a bulbous body, and usually has a vertical smoke vent or chimney.

Authorised fire type

Authorised fire type

Cultural fires

Including hāngï, umu, braai and lovo.

  • Your fire area must be less than two square metres.
  • Don’t light your fire within three metres of any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
  • In case your fire gets out of control, you must have a suitable way to extinguish it within five metres of your cultural fire, such as a water hose, mechanical digger, or water sprayer.
  • Find out more about the safe use of cultural fires.

Authorised fire type

Authorised fire type

Braziers

A container for hot coals – usually an upright standing or hanging metal bowl or box.

  • Your fire area must be less than 0.5 square metres.
  • Don’t light your fire within three metres of any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
  • In case your fire gets out of control, you must have a suitable way to extinguish it within five metres of your brazier or fire pit/bowl, such as a water hose, mechanical digger, or water sprayer.

Authorised fire type

Prohibited fire type*

Fire pits/bowls

A pit dug in the ground made from stone, brick or metal or a bowl on an upright stand.

Authorised fire type

Prohibited fire type*

Open drum incinerator and manufactured incinerators

A drum or container with a mesh or solid lid designed to prevent the escape of hot ash or fire, and designed exclusively for incineration.

  • Don’t light your fire within five metres of any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
  • In case your fire gets out of control, you must have a suitable way to extinguish it within five metres of your incinerator, such as a water hose, mechanical digger, or water sprayer.

Authorised fire type

Prohibited fire type*

Campfires

A fire (less than 0.5m diameter x 0.5m height) at a campsite that provides light and warmth, and heat for cooking.

  • You must comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
  • Find out more about the safe use of campfires.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*

Bonfires

A large, but controlled outdoor fire, used either for informal disposal of burnable waste material or as part of a celebration.

  • You must comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
  • Find out about the safe use of bonfires.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*

Burn piles

The burning of cut and stacked vegetation, includes horticulture branch/piles, offal pits or land clearing heaps.

  • You need to comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
  • Find out more about safe land clearing burns.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*

Crop residue/ stubble burns

Setting straw stubble or crop residue on fire that remains after wheat and other grains have been harvested.

  • You must comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
  • Find out more about the safe use of crop residue and stubble burns.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*

Broadcast land clearing burns

Applied generally to most or all of an area within well-defined boundaries to remove grass, scrub or forest cutover.

  • You must comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
  • Find out more about safe land clearing burns.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*

Windrows

The burning of vegetation that is placed in long narrow rows as a result of forest or scrub clearing.

  • You must comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*

Other

Fires not captured in other fire types, such as biosecurity fires and planned structure fires.

  • You must comply with the conditions on your permit issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Permit required

Prohibited fire type*


*Fire and Emergency will only grant permits while a prohibition is in force if:

  • that is necessary to prevent, reduce, or overcome any hazard to life or because of any other serious emergency; or
  • weather or other conditions have temporarily reduced the fire hazard so as to make it apparently safe to light a fire.