In our region we have regulations and restrictions which need to be considered before lighting an open fire.

Open air fires on your property

Before you have an open fire that includes braziers, contact Environment Canterbury(external link) (ECan).

Residents on sites less than two hectares should not burn waste outdoors. Cooking using an outdoor fire (such as a barbeque, hangi, umu or pizza oven) is permitted, but you should try to minimise nuisance to neighbours. For complaints about air pollution from fires, contact Environment Canterbury's customer services line on 0800 324 636  or on the pollution hotline 0800 76 55 88.

Note that braziers are classified as fires in the open air and so are restricted by the fire bans.

Properties measuring under two hectares

Outdoor burning on properties measuring under two hectares within Christchurch and Banks Peninsula is not permitted at any time of the year without a resource consent from Environment Canterbury, unless it is only for cooking purposes. The minimum cost of applying for a resource consent is $1,725 incl GST, and there is no guarantee a resource consent will be granted.

Properties measuring over two hectares

  • 1 September to 30 April each year – Outdoor burning of organic material (garden waste, untreated and unpainted timber, paper and cardboard) is allowed on all properties measuring over two hectares within Canterbury, as long as the fire meets the conditions in the Canterbury Air Regional Plan.
  • 1 May to 31 August each year – There is a winter outdoor fire ban for properties located within Clean Air Zones. Property owners can apply to Environment Canterbury for a resource consent to burn during these months. The minimum cost of applying for a resource consent is $1,725 incl GST, and there is no guarantee a resource consent will be granted. Outdoor burning can occur on properties outside of Clean Air Zones during the winter as long as they meet the conditions in the Canterbury Air Regional Plan. Contact Environment Canterbury to confirm that you meet these conditions.

If outdoor burning is permitted under Environment Canterbury's regulations, you are also required to comply with the following Council restrictions:

However a prohibition may be put in place due to fire danger at any time, generally the summer period.

Rural Fire District

The following fire seasonal requirements must be followed:

  • open season – outdoor burning is allowed
  • restricted season – outdoor burning is permitted with a rural fire permit
  • prohibited season – outdoor burning is not permitted.

All fire restrictions/prohibitions will be publicly notified in the local papers, i.e. The Press, The Star, Akaroa Mail and Bay Harbour News.

Apply for a fire permit during a restricted or prohibited fire season

If you are eligible to apply for a permit to burn during a restricted or prohibited fire season you will need to check the fire season status and restrictions(external link) and then do the following:

Restricted fire status

During a restricted fire season you are required to have a rural fire permit issued by a Christchurch City Council ranger prior to burning. Rural fire permits are free of charge and there is no formal application form to complete, however please apply a minimum of five working days prior to the intended fire date as a warranted Principal Rural Fire Officer is required to inspect the proposed fire site.

Call (03) 941 8999 or 0800 800 169 (Banks Peninsula residents) to be referred on to a Fire and Emergency New Zealand Principal Rural Fire Officer.

Prohibited fire status

During a Christchurch Fire and Emergency New Zealand imposed prohibited fire season the only circumstances special permits would be considered are for disposal of diseased stock or crops as ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF). Applications for special fire permits are the same as applying for a rural fire permit during a restricted fire season.

Environment Canterbury

To apply for a resource consent to burn outdoors on a property measuring under two hectares or during the winter period (1 May to 31 August) contact Environment Canterbury, phone free 0800 329 276 or email

Permit or licences for hangi, umu or BBQ on private property

No permit or licence is required for these fires in urban or residential area as long as the rules below are followed:

  • Fires must be used for cooking only, (not as a means of heating or lighting), and then extinguished. They must not be used for disposal of rubbish, waste wood or food scraps.
  • Fires may be lit on private property only.
  • No fires are allowed in strong winds.
  • The site of the fire must be at least five metres away from property boundaries, buildings or trees, hedges or any combustible material.
  • The area around the fire must be clear of material which may catch or spread fire, for example dry grass.
  • Fires must not become a nuisance or a danger to neighbours eg, check the wind direction and limit smoke by using suitable fuel (for example dry wood not wet).
  • Fires must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
  • An adequate water supply or suitable extinguisher must be available at all times, for fire safety purposes. If a hose is provided, it must be connected to a pressurised water supply at all times when the fire is going.
  • Fires must be extinguished as soon as cooking is completed, and must not continue burning after sunset.

In times of extreme fire danger all fires, including hangis, umus and non-gas fueled barbecues may be prohibited.

Guidelines for a successful hangi or umi(external link) [PDF 25KB]