Rural Fire


​​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?

Yes.  All outdoor fires, apart from those listed above require a permit.

Applying for a permit

Open air fires are managed by Pumicelands Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Pumicelands)​.

Apply online for a Fire Permit nowpumic​ (Please note that this link will not currently work in Internet Explorer so you will need to open with another browser such as Google Chrome).

​What are the different fire seasons in Opotiki District?

There are two fire seasons in Opotiki District. The fire seasons are based on the prevailing fire risk as follows:

  • Restricted Fire Season - applies at all times unless a Total Fire Ban is declared.  A Restricted Fire Season requires a fire permit for all open-air fires.
  • Total Fire Ban - all existing fire permits are cancelled, no new fire permits will be granted, and all open-air fires, bonfires and fireworks are prohibited during the term of this ban.

There is no open fire season where fires may be lit without a fire permit.

How can I check the fire season?

​For full details visit

​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 whether or not to issue a fire permit lays with Pumicelands Fire and Emergency NZ. You can read more about fire permits 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?

Yes.  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 a restricted or 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: 14 Jan 2019 11:48am