Outdoor Fires

This page provides information on outdoor fires including bonfires, hangi, umu, and all other outdoor fires. 

Do you really need to have a fire?

Recycling, composting, mulching or using the landfill may be a better option.  If your fire gets out of control dial ‘111’ immediately.

Current Fire Restrictions

Check the current Fire Season status.

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips

Here are some fire safety tips to help prevent holiday cooking resulting in dangerous fires - always have a container available with means of extinguishing the fire.

Gas Barbecues

  • Always check the gas connections have a good seal and are not leaking
  • Keep portable gas barbeques well away from tents and caravans
  • Light the match before the gas is turned on
  • When cooking is completed, check the gas supply and appliance switches are turned to the 'off' position'.
  • For more information on LPG safety, go to Energy Safety Service.

Charcoal Barbeques 

  • Local fire restrictions may prohibit the lighting of a charcoal barbeque. Contact a Council Customer Service Centre about any restrictions, which may be in place at the time.
  • Keep the barbeque well away from tents and caravans
  • Position it in a place where it is not likely to be knocked over - especially by children
  • Protect the barbeque from the wind
  • Use fire starters to start the fire safely
  • To rekindle a slow fire, tuck dry kindling under the coals and add charcoal if necessary
  • Don't use flammable liquids on fires
  • After cooking leave coals to cool before disposal by thoroughly dousing the coals with water.

Campfire Cooking

Local fire restrictions may prohibit the lighting of a campfire.  Contact a Council Customer Service Centre about any restrictions which may be in place at the time.

  • Fires should be situated downwind, well away from caravans, tents, grass and scrub
  • Avoid areas near fallen trees, tree trunks or low, over-hanging branches
  • Scrape away leaves and other debris down to the bare earth for at least one and a half metres surrounding the fire
  • To make sure the campfire is completely out, drench it with water and smother it

Hangi and Umu Safety Tips

  • Advise your neighbours of your intent to burn a fire for a hangi or umu
  • Select a suitable site for the fire, keeping away from things like long grass, fence lines, trees and buildings
  • Create a clear space or mini fire break around the perimeter of the fire by removing the grass layer from that area
  • Have a supply of water nearby in case of an emergency
  • When you are separating the ashes from the rocks place the ashes in an area where they won't set fire to other objects.  Then make sure that they are completely extinguished
  • After removing food from the ground, allow the rocks to cool before handling or removing to another area
  • A hangi or Umu is a fire in the 'open air' and will require a permit during a restricted fire season or a special permit during a prohibited fire season.  Contact a Council Customer Service Centre to find out about fire restrictions in your area.
  • A fire permit is also required if the fire is in the urban area and being lit during the hours of darkness.
  • Always have someone in attendance at your hangi or umu, whether it is during the firing or cooking stage.

A TOTAL FIRE BAN IS IN PLACE ON ALL HOROWHENUA BEACHES ALL YEAR ROUND.  FIRES ARE NOT PERMITTED ON COUNCIL RESERVES.

Smoke Pollution

Even if you have a fire permit or do not need a fire permit, your fire cannot cause a nuisance to others.  Horizons Regional Council has information about smoke pollution. 

Useful Links 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand 
Check it’s Alright to Light
Horizons Regional Council

Brochures and Information Available

The following fire management brochures and booklets are available from a Council Customer Service Centre or Levin and Shannon Libraries:

  • Fires in Rural Areas - Are you Aware?
  • Lighting Fires and Permits Issue
  • Flammability of Native Plant Species - A guide to reducing fire hazard around you home.
  • Farm Fire Safe
  • Fire Smart Home Owners Manual
  • Fire Management for Small Forests