Fires - Permits and Smoke Complaints

Fire Season Status

Check the Fire and Emergency New Zealand its Alright to Light page

Open air fires can easily get out of control and are potentially very dangerous. They can put people's lives, buildings, homes, livestock and crops at risk, if they are not carried out carefully and responsibly. Fires can also generate nuisance from smoke.

If you are planning to light a fire in an urban area in Manawatu, you will need a Fire Permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Download a copy of our Information brochure

  • How much does a Fire Permit cost?
    There is no charge for a permit. 
  • How long does the Fire Permit last?
    Permits will be granted for varying lengths of time depending on your circumstances and environmental conditions.
  • How long does it take to get a permit?
    It may take up to three working days to process an urban fire permit application. Requests for permits greater than a week in advance will not be issued until at least three days prior to the requested date of burning and requests made after 4.00pm on a Friday will not be processed until the next working day.

Applying for a Fire Permit

You will need to get in touch with us and tell us:

  • Your name, address and contact telephone number
  • What you intend to burn and when you intend to light the fire

All permits need signing as you are accepting the conditions of the permit.

Please apply for your permits up to five days in advance of your intended burn date. Requests for permits after Friday 4pm cannot be approved until the following Monday or closest working day.

If you are having a repeat burn, the approval of your application may depend on the outcome of any previous burns.

Smoke Nuisance

If you are currently experiencing an issue related to smoke nuisance, please contact us immediately.

Rural Fire Permits

Fire Permits may be required for all open air fires in rural areas, including hangi, umu, fires in braziers, incinerator fires, vegetation fires or controlled burns. If you are uncertain whether you require a permit contact the Manawatu Principal Rural Fire Officer 0800 658 628 .

For more information on Rural Fire Permits, click here.

Urban Fire Permits

If you live in Apiti, Cheltenham, Feilding, Halcombe, Himatangi, Kimbolton, Rongotea or Tangimoana, you may need to apply for an urban fire permit.

Read the Urban Fire Bylaw 2014

Fire permits are required for all open air fires in the urban environment, but excludes supervised hangi, umu, fires in braziers/barbecues on hardstand surfaces and outdoor fire places which have a building consent. During a total fire ban, special permits may be obtained to light hangi or other traditional cooking fires. Special fire permits are issued at the discretion of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Principal Rural Fire Officer and subject to a site safety inspection.

Permits and or exemptions may be required for one-off events, such as a cultural celebration or scout/guide camp fire, filming or training exercises.

The following conditions must be adhered to:

  • Attend the fire at all times.
  • Locate the fire at least 3m away from buildings, trees and fences.
  • Have a means to extinguish the fire.
  • Avoid a smoke nuisance, and inform your neighbours before you burn, and make sure material is dry and appropriate to burn.
  • Contact the Fire and Emergenecy New Zealand Communications Centre prior to lighting any fire.

Construction of Permanent Outdoor Fireplaces

Planning to construct a permanently fixed outdoor fire place such as a barbecue, or pizza oven? When you consider constructing such a structure be sure you check you are complying with the Building Code and seek specific advice from Council or a registered builder. Your outdoor fire place may not require a building consent, but still needs to comply with the building code, the District Plan and the Urban Fire Bylaw. Generally speaking, if you comply with the Building Code, it is highly likely you will comply with the Urban Fire Bylaw.

Guy Fawkes - Bonfires

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 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.
  • Bonfires 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 – with exception only to permitted public events with Fire Support.

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 a legal document authorising a person to light a fire, under the conditions set out in that permit. It does not remove your responsibility to conduct a safe fire.

Don't light the fire until you receive your permit as there may be special conditions attached. Read the permit carefully before lighting the fire.

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