In the past, local councils set fire regulations for their own area. When Fire and Emergency New Zealand was created in 2017, the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 was designed to cover most fire-related rules, and Kāpiti Coast District Council's regulations around lighting fires expired. Local councils no longer have the legal ability to declare fire seasons or issue fire permits.
The Council currently has no fire regulations in addition to those administered by Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and the Department of Conservation for conservation land (such as the Waikanae Scientific Reserve).
Fire and Emergency New Zealand set the fire season and issue fire permits for Kāpiti. To find out more about the current fire season, or apply for a permit, visit Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
You can also contact Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
Your neighbours might have asthma, be elderly, or have small children who could be affected by smoke, so it’s important you’re courteous when lighting fires. Make sure you keep smoke to a minimum.
Whether you need a permit or not, it's important you're courteous when lighting your fire. Let your neighbours know before you light an outdoor fire, so they can close their windows, get their washing in, or stay indoors if they want to. If your neighbours know about your fire in advance, they’re also less likely to worry and call 111.
You could also consider these alternatives before burning:
- transfer stations around the district.
- kerbside services for small amounts of garden rubbish.
- mulch or compost waste vegetation.
Greater Wellington has step-by-step instructions on their website for How to burn smoke-free for indoor fires. Some other good practice tips for indoor fireplaces are:
- use enough kindling
- don't put too much firewood in at first
- stack wood loosely in the firebox so air can circulate
- always use dry wood
- keep the fire burning brightly
- keep the air control open for at least 30 minutes
- burn smaller logs rather than trying to burn a single, large log
- if you add logs, open up the air control to “high” for at least 20–30 minutes
- don’t block air supply to the base of the fire with a badly positioned log.
- don't damp down the fire
- don’t burn rubbish in the fire.
Nuisance might include an offensive or objectionable smoke or smell beyond the boundary of the property where the controlled fire is taking place. Kāpiti Coast District Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) both have roles in relation to smoke nuisance complaints.
Council can investigate this through our responsibilities under the Health Act 1956. GWRC have responsibilities around what material is being burnt, under their Proposed Natural Resources Plan (section 5.1.3).
If you see a possible fire hazard (like an overgrown section), you can report this to Fire and Emergency New Zealand. See Fire hazards in your community for more information, and to request a fire hazard assessment.