Fire Permit General Information

As from 8.00am on Thursday 28 May 2020, the Restricted Season has been lifted for Marlborough South and Kaikoura Districts.

All land within the Marlborough and Kaikoura Districts are now in an Open Fire Season except for Department of Conservation land (PCL) which will remain in a Restricted Fire season.

People will still need to take all due care when burning ensuring they don’t leave fires unattended.

Fire Permit Requirements Information

Q: What do I do if I want to light a fire ?

A: When travelling through, visiting, or working in a forest or rural area within the Marlborough Kaikoura region, it is your responsibility to check the fire season. If you want to light a fire in open air, you may need a permit.

Fire Seasons Determine if you Need a Permit

The fire season is one way Fire and Emergency New Zealand Authorities decide if you need a permit to light an open fire. The Marlborough Kaikoura Fire & Emergency New Zealand uses a fire season system to communicate the risk of fire in a particular area at a particular time. There are three fire seasons: Open, Restricted and Prohibited.

  Fire SeasonPermit Status   
Open No - you will not need a permit
Restricted Yes - you will need a permit
Prohibited Total ban on lighting fires. Existing permits are cancelled

Check out the current fire season status here

Apply for a Permit in a Restricted Fire Season

  • Campfire (check campfire conditions below)
  • Rubbish fire
  • Cleared vegetation piles
  • Prescribed burn

Want to know what you can and can't burn - Check it out here

If you have a permit and the fire season becomes prohibited, your permit will be cancelled. You cannot light open fires if it is a prohibited fire season.

  • Follow Instructions on your Permit
  • If you start a fire and it needs to be suppressed, you may have to pay the costs, regardless of whether you have a permit.

Responsibility for Costs Incurred From Escaped Fires

Individuals found to be responsible causing fires are liable for fire suppression costs and for cost incurred as the result of fire damage and/or loss. It is an offence to light an open fire without a permit during a restricted fire season. If you do not have a permit and light a fire, you can be charged under the Fire & Emergency New Zealand Act 2017.

If a member of the police or a Principle Rural Fire Officer asks you to produce a permit, you must do so within a reasonable time. If you do not, this is considered an offence. Also see ‘Protect yourself with insurance’

To see if you need to apply for a permit you will need to go to Checkitsalright site.

Email: [email protected]


Marlborough Kaikoura Fire & Emergency New Zealand Policy Regarding Camp Fires

It is recognised that campfires will continue to be lit on Public Conservation land managed and other public lands and it would be impractical to enforce permit requirements in most areas. 

a) Prohibited Fire Season

At the start of any Prohibited Fire Season notices and advertising will ban all fires or may authorise only the use of gas cookers.

b) Restricted Fire Season - Notices in High Value Areas

At the start of any restricted fire season, in any area judged to have a high risk from fire, notices and advertising specific to the area will authorise the use of gas fuelled cookers or barbecues only, or the lighting of fires only in permanent fire places approved by the land manager (eg Public Conservation Land).  The notice will state the distance from the notice the restriction applies (or what boundaries the restrictions relate to).  Campfires in non-permanent fire places will not be authorised.

c)  Restricted Fire Season - All Other Areas

During a restricted fire season, the public can be informed by various means that gas cookers, barbecues, fires in permanent fire places and “approved campfires” are authorised.

An “approved camp fire” is any fire (for the purposes of camping, cooking, comfort or warmth) that is not:

  1. Within three metres of any tree or any place underneath overhanging vegetation; and
  2. Within three metres of any log or any dry vegetation; and
  3. Lit unless and until the ground surface within three metres of the site of the fire has been cleared of all combustible material; and
  4. Lit where notices and advertising are present which specify the lighting of fires only in other types of receptacle or place; and
  5. Lit during a Prohibited Fire Season.
  6. Lit in conditions where wind or other factors may cause the fire to escape.

d)  Department of Conservation Policy on Campfires

  1. All permanent fire places must be located to minimise the threat of fire (including picnic areas, huts, etc.).  Where possible Departmental staff will discourage the lighting of fires in non-permanent fire places and actively encourage the use of gas cookers or permanent fire places as alternatives.
  2. For the Rarangi/Whites Bay, Robin Hood Bay and other PCL-administered beachfront; Fires are permitted under special circumstances:
  • For public events that comply;
  • Firefighting capability must be on site;
  • Weather conditions must be suitable for an outdoor fire;
  • Restrictions are in place on what can be burnt;
  • In consultation with the Marlborough Kaikoura Department of Conservation;
  • For permited fires on the Rarangi Beachfront, Marlborough Kaikoura Fire and Emergency will be advised prior to light up;

Lighting Fires on Farms

If you are having a burn off on your farm, you may also need to let the Marlborough Kaikoura Fire and Emergency know:

  • What your plans are for firebreaks
  • What type of vegetation you are burning
  • The nearest water supply for pumps or helicopters and its volume
  • Any hazards in the area, such as high tension power lines.

Remember, if in doubt, talk to your local Principal Rural Fire Officer.

Hows your cover?

What Insurance protection do I need to cover any potential fire related costs, losses and liabilities?

You need to consider:

  1. Insurance of property for loss and replacement from fire:
    For your house, household effects, other buildings, vehicles, plant and machinery, forests and crops.
  2. Public Liability Insurance. 
    To cover the cost of damage and loss to a third party from anything (including fire) that escapes from your property and damages other parties property.

Check Your Insurance Policy today. Remember to talk to your insurer to confirm cover and appropriate limits