Fire restrictions

Current Status:   Open Fire Season (as at 8am Wednesday 9th April 2014)

The Hastings District Council enforces restrictions on lighting fires in the District. These restrictions range from an open fire season (no restrictions) to fire-by-permit (restricted fire season) to a total fire ban , where no permits are issued and no fires may be lit.

Open fire season

An open fire season means that you do not need a permit to light a fire. You must supervise your fire until it is fully extinguished.

You are not allowed to light fires when it is windy, or within five metres of a structure, including trees and fences.

You must obtain a fire permit from Hasting District Council if your fire is likely to burn after dark (between sunset and sunrise).

Fires on beaches are not permitted at any time.

Restricted fire season

A restricted fire season means fire permits are needed from a Rural Fire Officer for fires out in the open, eg garden rubbish, household waste, scrub clearing, tree prunings, dead or deceased stock, contaminated items, burning at night and non-approved domestic incinerators etc.

All fireworks require a fire permit. 

Small enclosed fires in containers do not require a fire permit provided they are undertaken in a safe area, braai, barbecues, pizza ovens, chimineas, braziers, gas heaters, approved incinerators etc, and these must be three metres from flammable materials. Traditional cooking fires (hangi/umu) do not require a fire permit but must be at least five metres from buildings, fences and other combustible material and must not cause a smoke nuisance.

Do not light fires in windy conditions, fires must not be left unattended and you must have a suitable means to completely extinguish the fire.

Five working days are required between the request for a fire permit and the time to burn, to enable staff to inspect sites and process fire permits.

Total fire ban

A total fire ban means no outdoor fires may be lit without a permit, and very few permits are likely to be granted.

The lighting of fireworks is prohibited during the period of the total fire ban while bonfires on the beach, charcoal or wood BBQs and traditional cooking fires are also banned.

Gas BBQs and properly constructed fire boxes such as pizza ovens are permitted but extra care is  required.

Permits MAY be issued for the disposal of diseased stock.

Anyone who breaches the fire ban can face prosecution, and be charged for damage and fire fighting costs.

Contact a Rural Fire Officer on (06) 8715000 for further information.

How do I obtain a fire permit?

Permits to burn during a restricted fire season are only issued by the Council's Rural Fire Officers and may be subject to additional requirements imposed by them. These permits generally apply to the burning of grass, scrub and other vegetation for essential agricultural and industrial purposes.

Permit Cost
DRA 1 $45 (if inspected)
DRA 2 $60 (if inspected)
DRA 1 & 2 $20 (if no inspection)

Permits for lighting fires for other purposes, for example industrial burning and cutting, must be obtained from a Rural Fire Officer but may be subject to consents from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council

Note: These permits are NOT VALID during a TOTAL FIRE BAN

The cost of fighting fires

You need to be aware that the cost of fighting fires on rural land could be passed onto the landowner, or the person who caused the fire.

There are powers in place under the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 to recover the fire fighting costs of fires. 

Council policy is to recover costs where possible. Each case is considered on its merits.

Some recreational groups have fire suppression insurance cover for their members in case they cause a fire. It would be worthwhile to find out whether the group that you belong to has insurance cover for this purpose, or to join a group that does provide this cover.

In addition families may wish to speak with their insurance company and seek, in addition to the household insurance, coverage for the cost of fire fighting for a fire caused by a family members in a rural area.


Contact a Rural Fire Officer at the Hastings District Council for more information on phone (06) 871 5000 or

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