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Fires in the Open Air Bylaw

This page contains a summary of the Fires in the Open Air Bylaw.
Updated: 2/12/2015 3:55 p.m.


Council recently consulted on a bylaw review which proposed replacing the Fire Prevention Bylaw 2005 with the Fires in the Open Air Bylaw 2015.  

This draft Fires in the Open Air Bylaw 2015 is similar to the existing Fire Prevention Bylaw and defines what are open, restricted and prohibited fire seasons and outlines the requirement for a permit for outdoor fires during an open or restricted fire season.

The draft bylaw also includes separate clauses relating to prohibited and restricted fire seasons, and new clauses have also been included for:

  • public notification of restricted fire seasons
  • fees for permits
  • removal or suspension of fire permits
  • handling of live ashes
  • Council's ability to extinguish fires
  • storage of combustible materials.

The draft bylaw aligns with similar provisions under the Forrest and Rural Fires Act and has been made in accordance with the Local Government Act 2002, and the Rural Fires Act 1977.


Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 Council are responsible for improving and promoting the sustainable management of hazards. Additionally, in accordance with the Forest and Rural Fires Act (FRFA), the Whangarei District Council is a Rural Fire Authority and has responsibilities which include fire reduction, readiness, response, recovery, enforcement in respect to illegal fires and cost recovery.   

In rural areas the FRFA is used to restrict the use of fire and take action in the event of uncontrolled or dangerous fires. The proposed new draft bylaw will extend these powers and functions across the District regardless of the fire authority status, ensuring a single set of rules and guidelines applies to all residents.

Additional powers in both the FRFA and the Fire Prevention Bylaw enable Council to control open fires by issuing permits and declaring restrictions across the district and taking action to control dangerous fires.

Public consultation

Submissions on the consultation closed on 6 November 2015.  Hearings are planned for Wednesday 25 November 2015.

The draft of the proposed new bylaw which was released for consultation can be downloaded from the link below.

Draft Fires in the Open Air Bylaw 2015 [241kb]

The draft bylaw should be read in conjunction with Council's Rural Fire Plan and in conjunction with the Regional Air Quality Plan produced by the Northland Regional Council, which requires that resource consent be sought for most burning activities within the Whangarei airshed.

Rural Fire Plan [474kb]

Regional Air Qualty Plan (NRC website) [1mb]




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