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Rural Fire

  • Outdoor fires, apart from gas barbeques and incinerators, may require a permit. This can be obtained by contacting your District Council. There are times, however, when no fires will be allowed - such as hot, dry summer periods when fire danger is extreme.
  • During a restricted fire season, you will require a permit to light any fire in a rural area.
  • It is recommended that you plan ahead if you wish to light a fire in a rural area, as permits can take up to five working days to process.
  • Please don't ask for a "same day permit", as refusal may offend.
  • Permits are free and can be obtained by phone, or you can submit a fire permit form by mail, email or fax. Please contact Customer Services at your nearest Council office.

Fire Season and Fire Permits

There are three fire seasons you should be aware of:

  • Open fire season - means no fire permit is needed to light a fire in the open air.
  • Restricted fire season - means a fire permit from the reelvant rural fire authority is required to light a fire in the open air.
  • Prohibited fire season - means a total fire ban and lighting of fires is not permitted in the open air.

There is an OPEN fire season in the Ruapehu rural fire area from midnight on Wednesday 25 February 2015 until further notice

When do I need a Permit?

You'll need a fire permit during a Restricted fire season. Check Council's home page regarding what fire season is in place. However, even if you have a permit, you are still responsible for a fire that spreads and causes damage. Failure to obtain a permit for a fire is an offence against the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977.

Fire as a Land Management Tool

  • Light the fire early in the morning when there is dew on the ground. This reduces the risk of spot fires caused by the light material that is easily carried in updraughts from the fire.
  • Consider wind strength and direction and watch for changes in these during the day.
  • Identify adjoining fire risks - especially downwind such as plantations, dry grass, hay crops and sheds, etc. A change in wind direction or strength during the day will alter these risks.
  • Keep the fire small. If possible, feed the fire during the day, rather than starting a large fire. Alternatively, make more smaller fires rather than one big fire. Do not light them all on the same day. A small fire is easier to control than a large fire.
  • Fully extinguish the fire by nightfall. A change in wind direction or strength during the night can result in a partially extinguished fire flaring up and sparks being spread. Night fires also result in many false alarms from concerned passing motorists.
  • Supervise the fire at all times. Any fire that is unsupervised or is burning during the hours of darkness can be deemed to be an uncontrolled fire and will be extinguished by either the NZ Fire Service or Council's fire suppression contractor if they are required to attend the fire.
  • Have fire suppression equipment available - knapsack spray, shovel, etc.
  • Do not light the fire under high tension power lines.
  • For larger fires, contact the Principal Rural Fire Officer for your area and obtain a copy of "A Landowner's Guide to Land Clearing by Prescribed Burning".

Rural Fire Fighters (Volunteers) Wanted

Ruapehu District Council is a rural fire authority responsible for fire control outside urban and DOC estates. The majority of the District's fire control is Council's responsibility. We have a small team of dedicated volunteer firefighters but are currently recruiting more. We are now in our official fire season and, with temperatures beginning to rise, require more help. We hold our training nights on Tuesday fortnights at the Council Depot in Huia Street, Taumarunui. We train predominantly for vegetation fires and, as such, don’t require you use breathing apparatus.  (However, we still can be called to a range of fires but we don’t do medical calls). Its fun and enjoyable.  And for you Waimarino folk we have a Waimarino rural fire team that will be establishing this season, so please get involved. There a number of roles that don’t require you to fight fires as well. Just enquire. Council's Emergency Management Officer, Nick Watson, is available to answer any questions you have. You need to be at least 17 years old to join and have a clean criminal record. Full equipment and training is provided.

Nick can be contacted on 07 895 8188 or click here to send email.

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Rural Fire Permit to Burn Application Form38kbView
NZ Civil DefenceView
NZ Rural Fire AuthorityView
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