Fire Services

Open Air Fires in Urban Districts

From 1 July 2018, Fire & Emergency New Zealand has taken responsibility for fire control and fire permitting for open air fires in all urban areas. This means that there is now no difference between urban and rural fire districts for dealing with open air fires.

Anyone wanting to light a fire in the open air should refer to Fire and Emergency NZ or call 0800 658628.

When fire danger reaches trigger points, Fire & Emergency New Zealand will declare a restricted season for parts of or the entire district (not just rural) and will be responsible for issuing all fire permits.

If you have an open fire, Fire & Emergency New Zealand has the authority to extinguish the fire if:

  • there is no fire permit when one is required;
  • the conditions of the fire permit have not been met;
  • there is a risk of the fire getting out of control; there is a risk to life or property (including smoke crossing the road and reducing visibility).

If the fire is causing a smoke nuisance, Fire & Emergency NZ has no direct or delegated authority to extinguish the fire or tell landowners to put their fire out. In such cases, firefighters should use their powers of persuasion to encourage landowners to be respectful to their neighbours. Fire & Emergency NZ can offer assistance to extinguish the fire, if requested.

Smoke nuisance complaints should be directed to the South Wairarapa District Council 06 306 9611 or the Greater Wellington Regional Council environment hotline 0800 496 734.

Fire hazard removal
From 1 July 2018, fire hazard removal powers have been transferred from Territorial Authorities to Fire & Emergency New Zealand. Area Managers and Principal Rural Fire Officers have the delegation to issue notices requiring the occupier or owner to remove vegetation or other potentially combustible materials deemed to be a fire hazard, and the powers to remove or destroy a fire hazard that is a cause of imminent danger.

If the concern is fire risk, to initiate the process visit the public website and complete the online form or call 0800 336 942.