Local Regulations and Licences

Fire permits

In urban parts of Palmerston North you need a permit to light any open air fire other than a gas barbecue, hangi or umu. If you live in a rural area, you need a permit in a restricted fire season.

Urban fires

It is illegal to light an open air fire without a permit in the Palmerston North urban area. Open air fires include charcoal barbecues, braziers, bonfires and incinerators. Garden fires are a major source of air pollution. It’s much better to take your green waste to a transfer station.

You don’t need a permit for a gas barbecue or an ethnic cooking fire. However, if you’re planning a hangi or an umu there are guidelines you should observe – mainly around building your fire pit and advising your neighbours.

Urban open fire guidelines

If you’re having a hangi, umu or other open fire, remember:

  • The fire must not be lit where the location, wind, or other conditions are likely to cause the fire to become a danger to people or property, to spread out of control, or cause a smoke or ash nuisance to others.
  • Except for barbecues fuelled by gas, the fire must not be lit within three metres of any part of a building, tree, hedge, fence or other combustible material.
  • The fire must be supervised by a responsible person at all times.
  • Have water or a fire extinguisher handy, ready to put the fire out.
  • The fire must not burn any compressed wood, treated or tanalised wood, green waste, plastics, rubber or accelerants where toxic substances are released.
  • For outside incinerator fires, remember the fuel must be controllable if the incinerator tips over, and the incinerator must have a spark arrestor or similar device to prevent sparks from the fire escaping.

To find out more about the guidelines call us on 06 356 8199.

Rural fires

You don't always need a fire permit if you live in a rural part of Palmerston North – it depends on the fire season status. Always check the fire season status before you light a fire. You’ll need a permit in a restricted fire season. In a prohibited fire season, you can’t light any fires.

How to get a fire permit

All the conditions you need to meet for open air fires are set out in the Council's Urban Fire Control Bylaw and administration manual. If you’re not sure whether you live in an urban or rural fire district, check the map at the bottom of this page.

To apply for a fire permit, get advice on ethnic fires or to speak to a rural fire officer, contact us on 06 356 8199.