Fire permits and burning restrictions

Outdoor burning is banned in the Nelson City urban area from 23 August 2003, under the provisions of the Air Quality Plan.

Nelson regional fire service and rural burning permits

All areas of Nelson City are covered by Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Information on fires in the rural area of Nelson, including restrictions and fire permits, is handled by Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand Principal Rural Fire Officer / Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officers, +64 3 544 2441.


Play your part in fire prevention

We all play a vital part in helping with fire prevention. If you would like to learn more about taking a fire safe approach at home and work, several booklets are available.

  • Fire Smart Home Owners Manual - Protecting your home from fire
  • Farm Fire Safe - Put fire safety into your business plan
  • Fire Smart, Partners in Protection - Protecting communities from interface fires
  • Landowners Guide to Land Clearing by Prescribed Burning

These and other information brochures on rural fire safety and control are available free of charge from Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand offices.

Summer fire risk

Property owners need to minimise the risk to buildings by making sure they have a defensible space between flammable growth (such as dry grasses or scrub) and any structure, especially in the dry summer months.

A defensible space does not necessarily have to be a bare earth fire break. Areas of short grass and scattered shrubs are fine as long as burnable litter such as fallen branches and leaves are cleared away.

Because of the way fire spreads, the defensible space needs to comply with Council fire policy specifications for minimum distances between structures and the potential source of the fire fuel. These are:

  • Flat land: 25 metres
  • Sloping land: 10 metres uphill
  • 15 metres side entrance
  • 30 metres downhill

Please Note

These distances apply to structures, not boundaries, in urban and rural areas. The fire policy should not be confused with the noxious plants policy, which in some cases requires a 10 metre boundary clearance.

If you have a problem with compliance on a neighbouring property, please talk directly with the landowner. If matters cannot be resolved or if you have any further inquiries, please contact the Environmental Officer on phone +64 3 546 0201.

Braziers and Barbecues

Use of braziers and barbecues is permitted as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Braziers are not used between May to August (this is when air pollution levels are highest).
  • Braziers burning solid fuel are less than 80 litres in volume.
  • No clippings, prunings, leaves or other garden waste and no household waste is burnt.
  • No treated timber, wet wood (>25% moisture content), synthetic material (including rubber) is burnt.