Skip to main content
Auckland Council

Fire safety guidelines for rural areas

Fire safety conditions

Before you light an outdoor fire on private land, use the fire address search to check if:

  • you can light a fire outdoors
  • you need to apply for a permit.

When you light any type of outdoor fire, whether it is a brazier, hangi or umu fire, pizza oven, you must also meet general fire safety guidelines.

Prepare and plan

  • Check there are no fire restrictions/fire bans in place.
  • Light fires away from property boundaries.
  • Use clean burning fuel such as untreated, dry wood and seasoned or browned off vegetation.
  • Supervise the fire at all times and make sure the fire is totally out before you leave.
  • Have a water supply, shovels, machinery, or a knapsack handy to keep the fire under control.
  • Contact us to check if you may need a burn plan if your fire will be:
    • multiple large fires
    • complex e.g standing vegetation
    • more than half a hectare
    • burning forestry slash or skid site waste.

See burn plans for larger fires.

In a total fire ban only gas fueled fires and fires that contain all embers and sparks are allowed. Special permits may be granted.

Do not burn

  • Plastics, tyres, rubbish, used oil, treated wood, paint, appliances, chemicals, rubber, or household, construction or demolition waste (including painted wood, plywood, particle board or MDF).
  • On reserves, beaches or coastal areas, except cooking fires in purpose-built fireplaces or devices.
  • Any green vegetation (not seasoned browned off).
  • Treated timber or building waste.

Consider the weather

  • Consider wind strength, wind direction, and when rain is forecast.

Consider your neighbours

  • Tell them about your plans.
  • Keep smoke away from their property.

Do not burn at night

  • Avoid emergency calls by burning during daylight hours.
  • Make sure the fire is settled before dark so that it is not visible from outside the property.

Light your fire in a safe place

  • The fire must be at least 3m away from property boundaries, buildings, trees, hedges and shrubs.
  • Think about how much combustible material there is nearby.
  • Burn away from any buildings, power lines, fences or other structures or flammable vegetation.
    • We recommend eight times the height of your pile as the distance between your fire and these items, or more if your pile is downhill or upwind of any of those.
  • Stay away from pines, cypresses, macrocarpa, gorse, teatree, bamboo, long or dead grass.

Make sure the fire is extinguished before you leave

  • Make sure all embers are completely extinguished before you dispose of them by soaking them with water or wait for them to cool.
  • Remaining embers from fires can hold heat for up to 48 hours from cooking fires or many weeks for large burn piles. You can check the temperature of the ash by holding the back of your hand carefully above the ash. Then use a shovel to turn the ash over and repeating the check with the back of your hand.

More about keeping yourself safe from fire

Fire Smart Homeowners manual (PDF 2.42MB)

Put fire safe into your farm plan (PDF 1.13MB)

Guidelines for small forests (1MB)  

A guide to reducing fire hazard around your home (PDF 1.90MB)