Outdoor Burning

This page explains rules around outdoor burning, information about fire permits and provides a good practice guide.

Tasman District Council manages discharges into the environment from outdoor burning, however for safety purposes, Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand requires you to obtain fire permits for outdoor burning anywhere within the Tasman District.

Fire Ban Areas

Richmond and Motueka have fire ban areas restricting outdoor fires.

There are a few exceptions to the ban including:

  • small fires used for cooking purposes such as barbeques and pizza ovens;
  • outdoor fireplaces including braziers;
  • small camp fires;
  • celebratory fires in Open Space or Recreation Zones;

In addition, outdoor burning is restricted during winter (June to August) in all settlements where a Fire Sensitive Zone applies.  Exceptions for small fires apply and a further exception is provided for burning horticultural crops where there is a risk of plant disease spreading.

A resource consent could be applied for in Fire Ban or Fire Sensitive Areas for horticultural waste or where a property is at least 5,000 square metres in area.

Good Practice

Where burning can be done, it must be carried out following good practice. Smoke from outdoor fires can cause significant adverse health, nuisance and amenity effects on neighbours and in the local area. 

Every effort must be made to minimise smoke from outdoor fires.  Times of the year when smoke from outdoor burning causes more problems include autumn and spring when there are more fires and calm, clear days which means smoke hangs about for longer.  Extra care must be taken at these times.

If you intend to light a fire outdoors anywhere in the Tasman District you must comply with the following criteria:

  • The property where the fire is lit must not be in the Fire Ban Area at any time, or Fire Sensitive Area (between June and August inclusive);
  • Only dry vegetation (from no more than three adjoining properties), paper and cardboard may be burnt;
  • No offensive or objectionable nuisance smoke, odour or ash is to cross the property boundary;
  • Any horticultural waste burning must also be carried out with best practice to minimise any smoke;
  • Smoke must not reduce traffic visibility or visibility on any public amenity area;
  • No municipal, domestic, industrial or trade waste or plastic is to be burnt;
  • No tree stumps are to be burnt.

If a fire is considered to be excessively smokey, the Council's compliance staff may issue an abatement notice with instructions on what action must be taken or issue infringement notices and fines.

Fire Permits

A fire permit allows you to light a fire, but does not allow you to create nuisance smoke or objectionable effects beyond the property boundary of your site.

When lighting an outdoor fire anywhere in the Tasman District, a fire permit is required for safety purposes.  The Council is not responsible for the issue or administration of fire permits. These can be obtained by contacting Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Farm Plastics

Farm plastic, including agrichemical containers and silage wrap must not be burnt.  Recycling programmes operated by AgRecovery (for agrichemical containers) and Plasback (silage wrap) offer alternatives to burying or burning this type of plastic.

Further Information

If you require further information regarding what can and can't be burnt, please contact Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand.