FAQs

How do I apply for a permit?

Click on Permits and fill in as much detail as you can as this will help with the application.

How long do permits last for?

Anywhere from 1 day to 6 months, depending on what you’re burning and the type of material you are burning.

How long does my permit take to renew and get to me?

We endeavour to issue all permits within 5 - 10 workings days but some permits require a full inspection and detailed burn plan. We encourage you to plan if you are wanting to burn.

What do I do if I have a permit for one material, but I want to burn another material later in the year?

Any change to your permit will need to be discussed with the Otago Principal Rural Fire Officer as a change of material type may mean a change of conditions

Is it possible to get a permit for the entire year?

Permits are not issued for 12 months due to the fire season status changing throughout the year.

Does it cost for a permit?

No, there is no cost and if you want any advice this is willingly provided for free.

Can I burn if I have a permit pending?

No, you need to read the permit accepting the conditions outlined in the permit before you burn. This will help in achieving a safe burn. These conditions include contacting the Otago, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Principal Rural Fire officer prior to lighting your burn.

Can I burn if my permit is in my email?

No, you need to read the permit accepting the conditions outlined in the permit before you burn. These conditions can include contacting Otago, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Principal Fire Officer prior to lighting your burn.

What happens if I burn without a permit?

It is an offence under the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 to burn without a permit if the fire season dictates that a permit is required. 

Do I need a permit to burn in an open drum incinerator and manufactured incinerator?

Yes, but only if the drum or incinerator is such that embers are contained. In other words if the drum or incinerator is fully enclosed and does not allow embers to escape then it is not classified as a ‘fire in the open air’. 

During a Total Fire Ban can I use a gas operated appliance?

Yes, a gas stove or BBQ is acceptable during a total fire ban. 

Can I light my pizza oven during a total fire ban?

If the pizza oven is fully enclosed and there is no chance of ember transfer, then yes. 

Can I burn on the beach?

Yes, but advise from Otago, Fire and Emergency is sought.

Can I have a bonfire at night?

Bonfire permits are only issued for Guy Fawkes if weather conditions allow and at the discretion of the Principal Rural Fire Officer.

Do I need a permit in an Open Season?

You can light a fire in open air without a permit - as long as you do so safely, have permission from the relevant land owner or occupier, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand hasn't prohibited the lighting of fires in open air in the location of your proposed fire.

You are responsible for the fire and must ensure that it does not get out of control and spread to vegetation or property, and that it is put out properly. You also need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act.

Please contact us on 0800 673 473 or email [email protected]

Full responsibility for the fire lies with the person lighting the fire. The fire lighter must take all precautions and make sure any fire is safe and secure.

Do I need the permission of the landowner to light a fire?

Yes, permission must be sought from the landowner to light a fire on their land. 

Can I light a fire on public conservation land?

There are special conditions associated with fires on public conservation land. Public Conservation Fire Conditions 

How do I know what Fire Season applies to me?

To view the current fire season that applies to your area use the Fire Season Map to search your address.

Does the permit have to be in the landowner name?

No, but you do need to seek permission from the landowner but the permit needs to be in the name of the person lighting a fire.

What are the different Fire Seasons?

Open Fire Season

Restricted Fire Season

Prohibited Fire Season