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I want to light a fire

 

When travelling through, visiting, or working in a forest or rural area, it is your responsibility to check the fire season. If you want to light a fire in open air, you may need a permit.

 

Apply for a permit in a restricted fire season

A restricted fire season in the area means you will need to get a permit to light a fire in the open air.
You are lighting a fire in the open air if you have a:
  • campfire
  • cooking fire
  • brazier
  • rubbish fire
  • controlled burn
  • prescribed burn.

Fire seasons determine if you need a permit

The fire season is one way Rural Fire Authorities decide if you need a permit to light an open fire. Our Rural Fire Authorities use a fire season system to communicate the risk of fire in a particular area at a particular time.
There are three fire seasons: open, restricted and prohibited.
​Fire season ​Permit status
​Open ​No, you will not need a permit
​Restricted ​Yes, you will need a permit
​Prohibited ​Total ban on lighting fires. Existing permits are cancelled
 
If you have a permit and the fire season becomes prohibited, your permit will be cancelled. You cannot light open fires if it is a prohibited fire season.

Follow instructions on your permit

If you start a fire and it needs to be suppressed, you may have to pay the costs, regardless of whether you have a permit.

Responsible for costs

Individuals found to be responsible for causing rural fires that escape have faced costs in excess of $500,000.
It is an offence to light an open fire without a permit during a restricted fire season. If you do not have a permit and light a fire, you can be charged under the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977.
If a member of the police or a Rural Fire Officer asks you to produce a permit, you must do so within a reasonable time. If you do not, this is considered an offence.
Also see ‘Protect yourself with insurance’ (html)

Contact a rural fire authority

To apply for a permit, you will need to contact the relevant Rural Fire Authority. You will need to provide them with information so they can assess your application for a permit.
They will:
  • provide you with a form to fill in
  • visit the site where you will light the fire if necessary
  • identify any special conditions you must follow.

Lighting fires for recreation

If you are lighting an open fire for recreational reasons in a restricted fire season, you will need to let the Rural Fire Authority know:
  • your name and contact details
  • the location of the fire – a map or a sketch
  • what you are burning
  • the nature and purpose of the fire
  • the duration of the fire permit.

Lighting fires on farms

If you are having a burn off on your farm, you may also need to let them know:
  • what your plans are for firebreaks
  • what type of vegetation you are burning
  • the nearest water supply for pumps or helicopters and its volume
  • any hazards in the area, such as high tension power lines.
To identify the relevant Rural Fire Authority for an area, use the maps on the home page – www.nrfa.org.nz