Open air fires & fireworks

Before you go to light a fire - even if it's in your backyard - check if you need a permit first.

Fire seasons

An OPEN fire season applies throughout Porirua City at all times, unless a total fire ban is declared. 

When there’s a total fire ban, bonfires, rubbish fires, incinerators and hangi and umu all need to have a fire permit.

We’ll let you know when there’s a total fire ban and advertise it in the local newspaper. Check the current fire danger status.

  • All fires in the open must be extinguished by nightfall.
  • Fires are banned on all beaches and foreshores.

If you light a fire that’s unsafe or doesn’t have the permit it needs, Council officers or Fire and Emergency New Zealand can put it out. You could also be prosecuted for breaching the bylaw. 

When you don't need a fire permit

During an open fire season, you don’t need a permit to light:

  • hangi, umu or other outdoor cooking fires.
  • gas-fuelled or charcoal barbecues.
  • braziers and chimeneas, provided they’re placed on a non-flammable surface.
  • approved incinerators and fire pits.

When you do need a fire permit

You always need a permit to light a bonfire or any other fire in the open air.

Under a total fire ban, all existing fire permits are cancelled, no new fire permits will be granted and all open-air fires – including outdoor cooking fires, bonfires and fireworks – are banned.

You need to apply for a special fire permit for an outdoor cooking fire during a total fire ban. 

Phone (04) 801 0812 to let the Fire and Emergency New Zealand know before lighting your cooking fire.  (DO NOT USE the 111 emergency services for this purpose.)

You may only light your gas or coal-fired barbecue during a total fire ban if it’s on a residential property.

To log a smoke complaint in a rural area, visit the Greater Wellington website.

Apply for a permit in an urban area

Contact us about applying for a permit by phoning (04) 237 5089, emailing or coming in to our Customer Services Centre at 16 Cobham Court, Porirua.

We’ll make an appointment to inspect your site and make sure it’s safe before issuing a permit. 

Applications for a fire permit take between three and five working days to process and remains valid until 30 June each year.

You’ll need to pay a fee of $28.00 when we issue your permit. You can pay at our Customer Services Centre or by internet banking.

Apply for a rural fire permit

To see if you require a permit, please check the Check Its Alright website. 

Burning garden and household waste

During the open fire season, you can use an open fire, incinerator or fire pit to burn vegetation and household waste,  except for:

  • green waste (vegetation and wood must be dry)
  • treated wood 
  • plastics, chemicals, rubber, waste fuel or oil, or paint.

Instead of burning waste, consider:

  • taking it to the Spicer Landfill
  • using our household rubbish and recycling collection service
  • mulching or composting waste vegetation
  • delivering recyclable items and materials to a recycling station or Trash Palace.

Keep outdoor fires safe

As well as getting a permit, if needed, you need to make sure an outdoor fire poses no risks to the environment or people or property:

  • Light fires in a clear area (further than 3 metres from any property boundary, tree, hedge, building, fence or other structure).
  • Don’t light fires in strong winds.
  • Supervise the fire at all times.
  • Always have a water supply handy to prevent the fire spreading.
  • Use a proper incinerator with a ventilation grate, cover and spark arrester.
  • Have a fine mesh guard to prevent burning debris and embers from escaping.
  • Burn only dry, combustible materials.
  • Make sure the fire doesn’t create a smoke or health nuisance for others.

Letting off fireworks

Most people enjoy letting off fireworks or watching a night-time display, but you need to follow a few rules to make sure everyone stays safe around fireworks.

Don't let off fireworks at the beach or in any of our parks or reserves.

If you're letting off fireworks in your backyard, remember these safety tips:

  • Have a bucket of water or a hose ready.
  • Use a torch to read the instructions on the fireworks before letting any off.
  • Only let adults light fireworks.
  • Aim fireworks only at the sky, and never at people, buildings or anything that could be set alight.
  • If a firework doesn't go off, never try to relight it.
  • Put your pets inside to keep them from being scared.