Fires in the Open Air

This page provides information on the permit requirements and restrictions on the lighting of bonfires, rubbish fires, incinerators and open air cooking fires i.e. hangi and umu in Porirua City.

Fire permit requirements

A Restricted Fire Season applies throughout the Porirua district at all times unless a Total Fire Ban is declared.

Open air fires are managed by both the Porirua City Council and the Wellington Rural Fire Authority using a fire permit process.

Council has the discretion to issue permits or not – breaches to the bylaw under these circumstances risk prosecution under the provisions of the Local Government Act 2002.

All fires in the open must be extinguished by nightfall.

Fires are prohibited on all Porirua City beaches and foreshores.

Under a 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.

Notification of a Total fire ban will be posted on this website and in the local newspaper.

Fire permit not required

You do not need a permit for any of the following during the restricted fire season:

  • Hangi
  • Umu
  • Cultural cooking fires
  • Gas-fuelled barbecues and charcoal barbecues
  • Braziers and chimeneas can be used if placed on a non-flammable surface

During a Total Fire Ban, you may apply for a Special Fire Permit for your Hangi, Umu or cultural cooking fire.

You may light your gas or coal fired barbecue during a Total Fire Ban provided it is located within a residential property.

Notify the Fire Service prior to lighting your Hangi, Umu or cultural cooking fire.

You may contact NZ Fire Service Control on telephone (04) 801 0812.  Note:  DO NOT USE the 111 emergency services for this purpose.

Burning garden and household waste

Burning vegetation and household waste in an open fire, incinerator or fire pit will only be permitted if conditions are met:

  • Vegetation and wood must be dry (no green waste)
  • No treated wood to be burnt
  • Do not burn plastics, chemicals, rubber, waste fuel or oil or paint

Instead of burning waste consider:

  • Using the Spicer Landfill
  • Using Council's household rubbish and recycling collection service
  • Mulch or compost waste vegetation
  • Deliver recyclable items and materials to the recycling station or Trash Palace

Outdoor fire tips

  • Get a permit in advance
  • Light fires in a clear area (located further than 3 metres from any property boundary, tree, hedge, building, fence or other structure)
  • Do not light fires in strong winds
  • Supervise the fire at all times
  • Always have a water supply for fire-fighting handy
  • Use a proper incinerator with a ventilation grate, cover and spark arrester
  • Use a fine mesh guard to prevent burning debris and embers from escaping
  • Burn only dry combustible materials
  • Ensure the fire does not cause a smoke or health nuisance to neighbours or other persons

Urban fire permits

The Council processes fire permits in urban areas.

Apply for a permit by phoning us on (04) 237 5089, email or in person at our Customer Service Centre.

Fire permit applications take 3-5 working days to process. We will carry out a site safety inspection before a fire permit is issued.

You can get a permit for a maximum of 1 year.

A fire permit fee is payable upon issue of the permit, either at our Customer Service Centre or by internet banking.

Rural fire permits

The Wellington Rural Fire Authority processes rural fire permits - to find out more and apply for one visit the Wellington Rural Fire Authority website.

Unauthorised and unsafe fires

Council's bylaw authorises Council Officers and the New Zealand Fire Service to extinguish or direct another person to extinguish any open air fire:

  • During any Restricted Fire Season where no Fire Permit has been issued for that fire
  • During a Total Fire Ban Season where no Special Fire Permit has been issued for that fire
  • Found burning in breach of a Fire Permit condition
  • That is unsafe or is a potential danger to property or persons

The cost of extinguishing such fires may be recovered from the land occupier or person who lit the fire.

Land Clearing

Land clearing applications require a burn plan.

You must prepare a written burn plan for all land clearing and burn off permit applications before a permit will be granted.

For information on burn plans, visit the Wellington Rural Fire Authority website.

Links to more fire information


Porirua City Council links:

External websites: