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Rural Fire

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Frequently Asked Questions about Rural Fire

 

  1.    How do I dispose of my rubbish during the fire season?
  2.    Can I have a barbecue?
  3.    Can I light a campfire for cooking or warmth?
  4.    I am a caterer. Can I set up and light a barbecue or a spit at outdoor functions?
  5.    Can I use an incinerator?
  6.    Can I light a fire in the open air for burning off grass, scrub, tree slash or rubbish?
  7.    Can I carry out welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting outside?
  8.    Can I use machinery such as tractors, slashers or chainsaws?
  9.    Can I light a brazier?
  10.    Where can I find further information about Rural Fire?

 

Q. How do I dispose of my rubbish during the fire season?

A. Burning a bit of rubbish in the backyard is common practice for many New Zealanders. Unfortunately, some people strike a match without a thought for the effects they may be having on their neighbours or their environment.

The Central Hawkes Bay District Council has a Fires in the Open Air Bylaw 2008 in place to regulate this activity and ensure there are minimal effects on the environment and our health. The provisions of the bylaw make it an offence to create a smoke or ash nuisance when burning outside in the open air anywhere in the District. This includes burning in an incinerator in an urban area.

The bylaw allows for controlled burning of dry material such as paper or dry garden waste, generated on your own property during an Open Fire Season. Problems arise when people try to burn greenwaste or wet vegetation, creating a lot of smoke.

Under the Hawkes Bay Regional Council air pollution bylaws, items that must NOT be burned are:

  •     Tyres or other rubber
  •     Waste oil
  •     Plastics including silage wrap and agrichemical containers
  •     Wood treated with chemicals
  •     Painted wood
  •     Chip board
  •     Asbestos
  •     Metals
  •     Chemicals

While burning is not an option for the materials above, Council does have other facilities for dealing with this type of waste.

  • Most plastics can be recycled including milk/soft drink bottles, as well as household cleaners e.g. washing up liquid and bleach containers, up to 20 litres in size. These plastics (grades 1 - 6), as well as aerosol spray cans, can be left out for kerbside collection or dropped off at the various Recycling Depots in the District free of charge.
  • Food scraps and organic material can easily be home composted or worm-farmed and, on a larger scale, green waste can be deposited at the Waipukurau, Waipawa and Takapau Refuse Transfer Stations for composting.


While alternative options to burning can eliminate public complaint, so can talking to your neighbours about any problems caused by smoke or fumes from backyard burning.
Safety issues to check when you're burning rubbish:

  •     A fire in the open air, including in an incinerator, must be at least 3 metres away from a boundary, building, or nearby vegetation or flammable/combustible material.
  •     Mesh cover/spark arrested flue to contain floating material.
  •     Fires must be supervised at all times and be thoroughly extinguished on completion, to prevent re-ignition by the wind.
  •     A means of extinguishing the fire must be available on hand at all times in case of an emergency. A pressurised hose water supply will generally suffice.
  •     Open fires must not be lit between sunset and sunrise without a Council fire permit, otherwise costs may be incurred to extinguish the fire.
  •     Fires must not be lit in strong winds as owners will be liable for the cost of fire fighting and any damage caused to neighbouring properties.

Burning of material such as leaves in the street gutter is totally prohibited, as the heat damages waterways and increases repair costs to ratepayers.

Q. Can I have a barbecue?

A. In an Open Fire Season - YES, solid fuel (wood, charcoal etc.) and fixed or portable gas or electric barbecues are allowed providing an area of 3 metres all around and above the barbecue is completely cleared of all flammable material and no smoke or ash nuisance is caused to neighbours. In a Restricted Fire Season - YES , gas or electric fixed or portable barbecues are allowed without the need for a fire permit providing an area of 3 metres all around and above the barbecue is completely cleared of all flammable material and no smoke or ash nuisance is caused to neighbours

Solid fuel barbecues are allowed providing;

  •     A fire permit has been issued
  •     an area of 3 metres all around and above the barbecue is completely cleared of all flammable material
  •     an adult is in attendance at all times
  •     the wind speed is less than 10kph (i.e. a light breeze that can be felt on the face and will rustle leaves on trees)
  •     No smoke or ash nuisance is caused to neighbours
  •     A means of extinguishing any fire is on hand at all times, e.g. a hose

In a Total Fire Ban - Gas or electric fixed or portable barbecues are allowed providing an area of 3 metres all around and above the barbecue is completely cleared of all flammable material and no smoke or ash nuisance is caused to neighbours. However extreme care should be taken and a means of extinguishing any fire that might occur is on hand e.g. a hose.

Solid fuel barbecues are NOT ALLOWED.  This applies to all barbecue that use wood, charcoal, briquettes etc.

Q. Can I light a campfire for cooking or warmth?

A.In an Open Fire Season generally YES.  However if you are an area under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation (DoC) you will require a fire permit issued by DoC as they remain in a Restricted Fire Season all year round.

In a Restricted Fire Season generally YES providing    A fire permit has been issued

  •     an area of 3 metres all around and above the barbecue is completely cleared of all flammable material
  •     an adult is in attendance at all times
  •     the wind speed is less than 10kph (i.e. a light breeze that can be felt on the face and will rustle leaves on trees)
  •     No smoke or ash nuisance is caused to neighbours
  •     A means of extinguishing any fire is on hand at all times, e.g. a hose, container of water etc.

In a Total Fire Ban - NO, camp fires are prohibited.

Q. I am a caterer. Can I set up and light a barbecue or a spit at outdoor functions?

A. In an Open Fire Season generally YES

In a Restricted Fire Season generally YES providing you follow the directions set out above for a barbecue in a Restricted Fire Season.

In a Total Fire Ban generally YES providing it is GAS fired only

Q. Can I use an incinerator?

A. In an Open Fire Season - YES providing it is at least 3 metres from any boundary or building and an area of 3 metres around and above the fire is cleared of all combustible materials, no smoke or ash nuisance is caused to neighbours and a means of extinguishing any fire is on hand, e.g. a hose etc.

In a Restricted Fire Season - generally YES providing;

  •     You have a fire permit
  •     you do not create a smoke or ash nuisance to neighbours
  •     it is in good condition with an effective lid that completely contains the fire or a spark arrested flue/chimney
  •     an adult is in attendance at all times
  •     an area of 3 metres all around and above the incinerator is completely cleared of flammable material.
  •     It is sited at least 3 metres from any boundary or building
  •     A means of extinguishing any fire is on hand e.g. a hose etc.

In a Total Fire Ban - NO

Q. Can I light a fire in the open air for burning off grass, scrub, tree slash or rubbish?

A. In an Open Fire Season - generally YES providing you do not create a smoke or ash nuisance to neighbours.  However you should also read some of the common sense advise in some of the answers above.

In a Restricted Fire Season - YES providing you have a fire permit and follow the conditions and precautions set out on that permit.

In a Total Fire Ban - NO

Q. Can I carry out welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting outside?

A. In an Open Fire Season - YES

In a Restricted Fire Season - YES, providing:   

  • You have a fire permit
  •     a fire-resistant shield is erected to stop sparks etc, and a fireproof container is used for cut-offs and butts
  •     an area of 1.5 metres around the work is kept cleared of all flammable material or is kept wetted down
  •     sufficient water is on hand in case of fire (either from a tap and hose or a knapsack spray or fire extinguisher containing at least 10 litres of water).

In a Total Fire Ban - NO.  However, for essential works, a special permit may be issued. Each request will be thoroughly investigated. Contact a Rural Fire Officer on
+64 6 857-8060 or via email.

Q. Can I use machinery such as tractors, slashers or chainsaws?


A. In an Open Fire Season - YES

In a Restricted Fire Season YES, providing:

  •     the machinery has an approved spark arrestor and is free of mechanical defects that could start a fire
  •     sufficient water is on hand in case of fire.

Operators of tractors and road maintenance equipment should carry a knapsack spray or fire extinguisher charged with at least 10 litres of water.

In a Total Fire Ban - YES, but if possible postpone this work as the risk of starting fires is extremely high.

If work is essential, follow precaution outlines for the Fire Danger Period and use extreme care.

The principal Rural Fire Officer may impose restrictions on certain operations during extreme fire danger days. Contact a Rural Fire Officer first on
+64 6 857 8060 or via email.

Q. Can I light a brazier?

A. In an Open Fire Season - YES providing the precautions set out above for use of an incinerator are followed.

In a Restricted Fire Season - YES, providing;

  •     you obtain a fire permit from a Council Fire Officer
  •     an area of 3 metres all around and above the brazier is completely cleared of all flammable material and it is 3 metres from any boundary or building
  •     a person is in attendance at all times
  •     the wind speed is less than 10kph (i.e. a light breeze that can be felt on the face and will rustle leaves of trees)
  •     water must be on hand in case of emergency

In a Total Fire Ban - NO braziers are permitted.

Q. Where can I find more information about Rural Fires?


A. See Related Documents below.

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