Lighting outdoor fires
If you are considering lighting an outdoor fire in the Hastings District, check with council to see what fire season is in place.
If a fire gets out of hand call 111 immediately.
There are three types of fire seasons defined in the Forrest and Rural Fires Act.
The setting of fire seasons is the responsibility of the Principal Rural Fire Officer and may vary depending on weather conditions.
Burning at night
All fires in the open burning during the hours of darkness require a fire permit. This includes fires that have been burned during the day and are not completely out.
Open Fire Season
All outdoor fires are permitted with no requirement for a Fire Permit. When a fire is lit it must be done so in a safe and considerate manner that does not cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
Restricted Fire Season
To light an outdoor fire, a Fire Permit is required.
Total Fire Ban
No outdoor fires are to be lit. The only exception is if it is authorised by the Principal Rural Fire Officer.
A Total Fire Ban prohibits the lighting of all fires in the open air, fireworks, fires on the beach, charcoal or wood BBQs, pizza ovens, braziers, and chimenea, traditional cooking fires, hangi and umu.
Gas fueled BBQs and other gas fueled cooking apparatus are permitted but care must be taken.
You may face prosecution if a Total Fire Ban is breached.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) manages air quality rules across the district and no outdoor burning is to take place within the Napier and Hastings Airshed Areas between 1 May and 1 September each year.
This is because Hawke’s Bay must meet the National Environmental Standard (NES) for air quality set by the Ministry for the Environment. Currently PM10 concentrations in Napier and Hastings on cold clear winter nights exceed this standard. These are the places most affected by local air pollution and by small particulate (PM10) contaminants.
Man-made air pollution is associated with over 1100 cases of premature mortality each year – that is people dying earlier than they would have if they had not been exposed to air pollution. To comply with NES by 2020 PM10 Hastings emissions need to reduce by 71% and Napier’s PM10 emissions need to reduce by 47%.
Exceptions to the outdoor burning rules are for disease control or orchard/vineyard redevelopment or outdoor cooking such as a pizza oven. Burning must still be managed responsibly and so that no breach of Council rules occur. Futher information can be found in the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Regional Resource Management Plan, Chapter 6, Rules 19c and 19e HERE
Fires in public places and urban areas
It is illegal to have an open fire in any urban areas and public places in the Hastings District including beaches, parks, reserves and forests.
In urban areas, fires are permitted in braziers, solid fuel barbecues, umus and hangis, provided they are used in a safe and considerate manner that adheres to basic prevention measures.
In rural areas, residents must apply for a permit to light open air fires for cooking or heating during a restricted fire season. Gas barbecues are still permitted.
Please observe the following guidelines:
- Advise your neighbours before you have your fire
- Don't cause a smoke nuisance
- Use untreated, dry wood which will burn without too much smoke
- Do not burn rubbish or plastics in the fire
On Guy Fawkes Night bonfires are only allowed in rural areas and a permit is required.
The following guidelines must be followed:
- Bonfires must be supervised at all times.
- Bonfires must be fully extinguished prior to being left at the end of the night.
- All close neighbours are to be informed.
- The local fire station must be informed.
- No bonfire is to cause a smoke nuisance to any other neighbour.
- Fires are not to be burnt in conditions of high wind. Low wind or still conditions are recommended.
- Any fire must have a reasonable clear space or fire break around the base of the fire. A simple guide is to have twice the height of the fire in clear space.
- Fire must not be within five metres of any structure, other vegetation or property boundary. For larger fires this margin will need to be increased.
Bonfires are prohibited within urban areas and there are no exceptions to this rule.
Pet owners are reminded to ensure their animals are safe during Guy Fawkes. Dogs and cats should be kept inside to avoid any harm and distress.
A fire permit is required for any fire in the open air that will burn after sunset at any time of the year. If you wish to light a fire in the Hastings District during a restricted fire season or that will burn after sunset, you need to apply for a Fire Permit.
To apply for a Fire Permit, we require a lead time of five working days to issue the permit. Please contact us on (06) 871 5000 to apply.
A Hastings District Council Rural Fire Officer may need to inspect the site before any fire can be lit.
Permits for lighting fires for other purposes such as 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.
Permit charges may apply.
$20.00 if no inspection is required
$45.00 for inspections within the urban area & Heretaunga Plains
$60.00 for inspection in all other areas
Contact a Rural Fire Officer at the Hastings District Council for more information on phone (06) 871 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org