Rural Fire

Contents

Covid-19 Update

Fire and Emergency NZ advise they are not currently issuing any fire permits in our region. The fire risk here is still very high and we’ll need a good bit of rain before that changes.

Given the situation with Covid19, emergency services will come under pressure to respond to those in need. Being called out to vegetation fires will put extra pressure on the 111 system and our local fire brigades.

Support our local volunteers– don’t burn.

Check out the FENZ website​ for some tips on how to be fire safe while staying home for the next four weeks.

End of update.

​​​​​​​Can I light an open fire in an urban area in Opotiki?

​No. Bay of Plenty Regional Council does not permit open burning in urban areas. A property in an urban area is defined as one being less than 2ha in size and connected to a municipal wastewater system.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Are there exceptions to this rule?

Yes. Exceptions to this rule include gas fires, braziers, BBQs, pizza ovens, smokers, umu and hangi. 

View the Bay of Plenty Regional Council rules on backyard burning​ for full information.

Do I need a permit to light a fire in Opotiki?

Open air fires are managed by Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Before lighting a fire go to checkitsalright.nz​ to see if you can light a fire and if you need a permit you can link from there to the permit application site.

​What is the current fire season in Opotiki District?

You can read more about fire seasons and check to see if it is ok to light at checkitsalright.nz​​. When you start your application and enter the address of your proposed fire the system will tell you what the current fire season is and if you require a permit.

​If I have a permit am I responsible if my fire gets out of control?

Yes.  Even if you have a permit you are still responsible for a fire that spreads and causes damage. A fire permit is not a legal defence against claims for damage caused by a fire.

If you start a fire that gets out of control and damages someone else's property, you're responsible for the cost of repairing any damage. If the fire authority and/or the fire service is called out you may have to pay their suppression costs too.

Reporting dangerous fires - If you see smoke or fire and you think it looks threatening, dial 111 for the fire service.

What are the conditions for granting a fire permit?

The decision as to whether or not a permit is required or will be issued lays with Fire and Emergency NZ. You can read more about fire per​​​mits on the Fire and Emergency Management NZ website.

No matter what the fire season is, you still need to comply with any council bylaws and regional council requirements relating to smoke nuisance and discharges to the air, even if you are issued with a fire permit from Fire and Emergency NZ.​

View the Bay of Plenty Regional Council rules on backyard burning​.

What should I consider before lighting my fire?

Before lighting any fire always consider your neighbours and check the current weather conditions.

Do not create:

  • Air and environmental pollution
  • Smoke hazards
  • Ash or odour nuisance
  • Potential fire hazards.

Instead of burning:

  • Use the local Resource Recovery Centres at Opotiki, Te Kaha and Waihau Bay
  • Use Council's recycling collection service in the urban area of Opotiki
  • Mulch or compost waste vegetation
  • Deliver recyclable items and materials to the Resource Recovery Centres.

​Are there special requirements for land clearing?

View the Fire as a Land Management Tool page​ on the Fire and Emergency Management website for full details.

​Does a Rural Fire Officer have the right to extinguish my fire?

Yes.  If a fire is unauthorised or unsafe Rural Fire Officers and the New Zealand Fire Service are authorised to extinguish any open air fire. The cost of extinguishing such fires may be recovered from the land occupier or person who lit the fire.

What happens if I light a fire without a fire permit during a restricted or prohibited season?

It is an offence under the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 to knowingly or recklessly light a fire in open air without a fire permit (if one is required - checkitsalright.nz) or a prohibited season has been declared or if a prohibition on the lighting of fires in open air is in place in an area.

If convicted of an offence, an individual could face up to 2 years in prison or a fine not exceeding $300,000, or both; in any other case the fine could be up to $600,000.​​​

Page reviewed: 30 Mar 2020 1:40pm