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Last reviewed: Tue, 23 Aug 2011

Fires - frequently asked questions



Can I have an open air fire on my property?

In our region we have regulations and restrictions which need to be considered before lighting an open fire.

Before you have an open fire which includes braziers, please contact Environment Canterbury (ECan).

Residents should try to minimise nuisance to neighbours by advising them beforehand and checking wind directions. For complaints about air pollution from fires, contact Environment Canterbury Regional Council's Customer Services line on 0800 324 636  or on the pollution hotline 0800 76 55 88.

Hangis, umus and barbeques are permitted in the urban area at any time (apart from advertised times of extreme fire risk) subject to compliance with fire safety requirements.

Note that braziers are classified as fires in the open air and so are restricted by the fire bans.

Residential properties
Outdoor burning in residential areas within Christchurch and Banks Peninsula is not permitted at any time of the year without a resource consent from ECan. The minimum cost of applying for a resource consent is $1,472. incl GST., there is no guarantee a resource consent will be granted.

Rural properties

  • 1 September–30 April each year - Outdoor burning is allowed on all properties zoned rural within Canterbury as long as the fire meets the conditions in Environment Canterbury's Natural Resources Regional Plan.
  • 1 May–31 August each year – There is a winter outdoor fire ban for rural properties located within Clean Air Zones 1 and 2 in these areas. Property owners can apply to ECan, for a resource consent to burn during these months. The minimum cost of applying for a resource consent is $1,472. incl GST., , there is no guarantee a resource consent will be granted. Properties outside these Clean Air zones are able to burn during the winter as long as they meet the conditions in Environment Canterbury's Natural Resources Regional Plan. Please contact ECan to confirm that you meet these conditions.

If established that outdoor burning is permitted under ECan's regulations above you are also required to comply with the following Council restrictions:

However a prohibition may be put in place due to fire danger at any time, generally the summer period

Rural Fire District
The following current fire seasonal requirements must be followed:

  • open season – outdoor burning is allowed
  • restricted season – outdoor burning is permitted with a rural fire permit
  • prohibited season – outdoor burning is not permitted.

All fire restrictions/prohibitions will be publicly notified in the local papers, i.e. The Press, The Star, Akaroa Mail and Bay Harbour News.

Department of Conservation (DOC) one km fire safety margin

 Outdoor burning within a one km safety margin of DOC land is not permitted all year round without a Fire Permit from DOC conservancy office.

How do I apply for a fire permit during a restricted or prohibited fire season?

If you are eligible to apply for a permit to burn during a restricted or prohibited fire season you will need to do the following:

Check the current public notices on the Fire Season.

Restricted fire status
During a restricted fire season you are required to have a rural fire permit issued by a Christchurch City Council Ranger prior to burning. Rural fire permits are free of charge and there is no formal application form to complete, however please apply a minimum of five working days prior to the intended fire date as a warranted Rural Fire Officer is required to inspect the proposed fire site.

Call the Customer Contact Centre on, phone (03) 941 8999 or 0800 800 169 for Banks Peninsula residents to be referred on to a Council Rural Fire Officer.

Department of Conservation
To apply for a fire permit to have an outdoor fire within the one km safety margin of DOC land please contact DOC on phone free 0800 362 468 . See the DOC website for more information.

Prohibited fire status
During a Christchurch City Council imposed prohibited fire season the only circumstances special permits would be considered are for disposal of diseased stock or crops as ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF). Applications for special fire permits are the same as applying for a rural fire permit during a restricted fire season.

ECan
To apply for a resource consent to burn outdoors on a residential property or during the ECan winter ban period (1 May to 31 August) contact ECan on, phone free 0800 324 636 or email .

Do I need a permit or licence to have a hangi, umu or BBQ on private property?

No permit or licence is required for these fires in urban or residential area as long as the rules below are followed:

  • Fires must be used for cooking only, (not as a means of heating or lighting), and then extinguished. They must not be used for disposal of rubbish, waste wood or food scraps.
  • Fires may be lit on private property only.
  • No fires are allowed in strong winds.
  • The site of the fire must be at least five metres away from property boundaries, buildings or trees, hedges or any combustible material.
  • The area around the fire must be clear of material which may catch or spread fire, for example dry grass.
  • Fires must not become a nuisance or a danger to neighbours eg, check the wind direction and limit smoke by using suitable fuel (for example dry wood not wet).
  • Fires must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
  • An adequate water supply or suitable extinguisher must be available at all times, for fire safety purposes. If a hose is provided, it must be connected to a pressurised water supply at all times when the fire is going.
  • Fires must be extinguished as soon as cooking is completed, and must not continue burning after sunset.

In times of extreme fire danger all fires, including hangis, umus andnon-gas fuelled barbecues may be prohibited.

Guidelines for a successful hangi or umi.

 

Authorising Unit: Inspections and Enforcement

Last reviewed: Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Next review: Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Keywords: fire