With the instigation of the Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority, the fire responsibility of the Marlborough District Council, Kaikoura District Council and Department of Conservation now rests with the enlarged rural fire district, including fire permitting.
Marlborough District Council administers all fire permits on behalf of the Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority.
Permit approvals and inspections, if required, are the responsibility of the Administration Fire Zone Rural Fire Officer.
Sometimes a permit is required to light a fire in the open air. Permit requirements depend on the burn location and what the fire season is. There is no charge for a fire permit.
Fire permits are required during restricted fire seasons in all areas. When fire risks reach specified levels a prohibited fire season (total fire ban) will be declared.
Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority
The new enlarged rural fire district of Marlborough Kaikoura is administered by the Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority. The district is divided into three zones:
- The Department of Conservation zone which covers all land north of the Wairau River except for land east of State Highway One at Tuamarina out to Rarangi along the base of the hill.
- The Marlborough District Council zone is all land south of the Wairau River including all land east of State Highway One at Tuamarina out to Rarangi along the base of the hill.
- Department of Conservation administers the upper Wairau Valley through the Rainbow into the Clarence Reserve area, with the Kaikoura District Council Zone being all remaining land within their territorial area. (See map below).
All Fire permit applications in the Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire District are processed by the Marlborough District Council.
Marlborough District Council contact number Ph: 03 520 7400.
Marlborough District Council Administration Zone
The current fire season for the Marlborough District Council Zone is open. The Open Fire Season will remain in force until further notice.
The Restricted Fire Season will remain in force in the Restricted Rural Fire Zones detailed in the following schedule:
Zone 33 - Wither Hills/Taylor Pass/Redwood Pass
Zone 40 - Waihopai Sweet Stream area
Fire seasons change throughout the year.
An open fire season is normally in place from 1 May through to 1 October (no permit required during this season), unless you live in a special fire protection zone (see below).
A restricted season or prohibited fire season (total fire ban) is put in place when the fire risk reaches specified levels.
Special Fire Protection Zones
The following areas within the Marlborough District Council Zone are in a restricted fire season 365 days of the year unless replaced with a total fire ban. A fire permit is required at all times while in a restricted fire season before lighting a fire in the open air in these zones. Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority administers fire permits for these zones. To apply for a permit contact Marlborough District Council, Ph: 03 520 7400.
When a total fire ban is in place all permits are cancelled and no burning is to take place.
Zone 33 - Wither Hills/Taylor Pass
Zone 40 - Sweetstream/Benhopai
If you have any doubt about which zone you sit in or the status of the fire season, please contact the Marlborough District Council on 03 520 7400 before you light a fire.
Department of Conservation Administration Zones
Permanent status of restricted fire season applies to rural land north of the Wairau River and Wairau Diversion. This includes the Marlborough Sounds.
Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority administers fire permits for these areas. To apply for a permit in these areas contact the Marlborough District Council, Ph: 03 520 7400.
Kaikoura District Council Administration Zone
For the fire season status for this administration zone, please refer to the Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority website using the following link:
Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority administers fire permits for this area. To apply for a permit in this area contact the Marlborough District Council, Ph: 03 520 7400.
Urban - Picton and Havelock
A fire permit is required in Picton and Havelock during a restricted fire season. The Marlborough District Council administers fire permits for these areas. To apply for a permit during a restricted fire season contact Marlborough District Council, Ph: 03 520 7400.
There are three different types of fire seasons:
Open Fire Season
This means that a fire permit is not required to light a fire in the open air.
Restricted Fire Season
This means that a fire permit is required at all times before lighting a fire in the open air.
Prohibited Fire Season (Total Fire Ban)
This means that the lighting of all fires is totally prohibited in both rural and urban areas.
All current fire permits will automatically be revoked.
Conditions for Granting a Fire Permit
If you think you will need a fire permit, ask early; do not wait until the day you want to light the fire. To issue a fire permit the fire authority local rural fire officer may inspect the site to assess the threats and establish the conditions required for the fire permit. Once the fire permit has been issued it must be signed by the applicant (the person responsible for lighting the fire and named on the fire permit) before the burn can proceed. Most fire permits are issued for a period that allows time to get the right conditions to complete the burn. There is no need to wait until the last minute before applying for a fire permit.
If a fire permit is issued for an extended period of time, please contact your local rural fire officer prior to light up so the relevant fire authorities can be advised.
The decision whether to issue a fire permit will be based on the following factors:
(a) Fire ground conditions (Note: They are subject to the type and size of fire proposed in each case):
- The current fire season status
- Fire ground location, topography and vehicle accessibility
- The type and size of fire proposed ie; garden, bonfire, general rubbish fire or large-scale land clearance, stubble or scrub burn-off etc. For large scale land clearance, stubble or scrub burn off, a burn plan will be required.
- The fuel type, volume and combustibility
- The fire ground's exposure to wind
- prevailing weather conditions and long-term weather forecast
- The location, size and condition of any fire breaks
- The on-site availability of water, fire fighting and earthmoving equipment.
(b) The presence of potential fire hazards near the proposed fire ground:
- Trees, scrub, gorse, grass
- Buildings including houses, sheds, barns or other buildings
- Stored animal fodder ie; haystacks
- Overhead wired electrical and telephone services
- Communication stations, structures or installations ie; television, cellphone or radio towers or buildings
- Underground and/or aboveground gas or fuel storage installations.
Good Burning Practices
To minimise air pollution and nuisance effects from smoke it is important that good burning practices are adopted.