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17 Nov 2019
Fire Safety on the road

Want to have a Fire or a BBQ while camping.

Take a few minutes to read through this.

Season status definitions

    OPEN FIRE SEASON
    RESTRICTED FIRE SEASON
    PROHIBITED FIRE SEASON

OPEN FIRE SEASON
You can light a fire in open air without a permit – as long as you do so safely, have permission from the relevant land owner or occupier, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand hasn’t prohibited the lighting of fires in open air in the location of your proposed fire.

You are responsible for the fire and must ensure that it does not get out of control and spread to vegetation or property, and that it is put out properly. You also need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act.

Contact Fire and Emergency for advice on fire safety.

RESTRICTED FIRE SEASON
Lighting a fire is riskier than normal during a restricted fire season and you need to get a fire permit from Fire and Emergency before you light a fire in open air.

The fire permit issued to you will include specific conditions to help you light your proposed fire safely and prevent it from getting out of control and spreading.

You also need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act.

It is an offence to knowingly or recklessly light, or allow another person to light, a fire in open air without a fire permit, or not in accordance with the conditions of a fire permit, during a restricted fire season.

Some authorised fire types may be allowed in your area without a permit during a restricted fire season. If you are unsure, the permit application process will identify if you need a permit.

There is an all year round restricted fire season on public conservation land – find out more here

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PROHIBITED FIRE SEASON
It’s hot and dry! Fires are more likely to burn out of control and result in damage to vegetation or property, or loss of life.

Lighting a fire would be extremely risky so there is a ban on lighting any fires in open air.

During prohibited fire seasons, Fire and Emergency will only grant permits that are necessary to prevent, reduce, or overcome any hazard to life or because of any other serious emergency. Permits may also be granted if the weather or other conditions temporarily reduce the fire risk, making it safe to light a fire.

You also need to comply with city/district and regional council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act

It is an offence to knowingly or recklessly light, or allow another person to light, a fire in open air without a fire permit, or not in accordance with the conditions of a fire permit, during a prohibited fire season.

Some authorised fire types may be allowed in your area without a permit during a prohibited fire season. If you are unsure, the permit application process will identify if you need a permit. 

Braziers

Braziers are self-contained outdoor fires that use wood as fuel for warmth. They are portable and can be moved around to suit your needs.

There are rules for using braziers during a restricted fire season.

Your fire area must be less than 0.5 square metres.
Don’t light your fire within three metres of any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
In case your fire gets out of control, you must have a suitable way to extinguish it within five metres of your brazier such as a garden hose.
Follow the rules below to ensure your brazier doesn’t pose a risk to people and properties.

Before you light your fire
Check the fire season - Visit checkitsalright.nz to find out the current fire season for the area where you plan your bonfire. Braziers are banned in a prohibited fire season.

 
Open fire season -fires are allowed, but must be safe

 Restricted fire season - fires may be allowed with a permit

 Prohibited fire season
- no fires allowed

Other agency requirements - Check council websites for air quality rules, restrictions including air shed zones and smoke nuisance guidelines. Braziers are not permitted on Public Conservation Lands.

Safety zone - Put your brazier on a stable, level, non-flammable surface such as a metal tray, gravel, concrete or dirt.  Keep your brazier more than three metres from buildings and anything else that could catch alight and burn, e.g. plants, grasses, or branches.

Smoke - Place your brazier so that smoke won’t impact others.

Extinguish - Keep a garden hose turned on or buckets of water within five metres of your brazier. You need to be ready to put out your fire and extinguish any hot embers that escape.  

Don’t light your brazier if you have any doubts that it is safe.

When your fire is lit
Fuel - Only burn clean, dry untreated wood or charcoal. Never burn rubbish, plastic, rubber or treated wood. These produce toxic fumes which are harmful to your health and the environment.

Fire control - Your fire should be less than 0.5m2 or 80 cm diameter. Load small amounts of wood at a time and don’t move the brazier when it’s in use.

Supervise - Ensure someone stays with the brazier until it’s put out. Have a ‘no go zone’ to keep children and pets safe.

Weather -  If a change to the wind direction or speed makes your brazier unsafe — put it out.

Be responsible - You need to be able to take charge if there’s an emergency, and should not be impaired.

After your fire
Extinguish - Leave the fire to burn out. Cover the opening with a mesh screen so sparks, embers, or burnt wood don’t escape and start a fire. When cool carefully place ashes and embers into a metal container and saturate with water.

Stir them and check they are cold before you properly dispose of them. Extinguished coals and ashes should be placed a safe distance from all structures and combustible materials.

Store - If you store your brazier inside, let it cool down completely before storing.

Dial 111 immediately in an emergency. Anything that could cause loss of life, serious injury or loss of property is a fire emergency.

Outdoor gas BBQ
Gas BBQs are great for cooking.

Follow the guidance below to reduce any fire risk and keep people and properties safe.

Before you light your fire
Check - Gas bottle, hoses and connections wear out over time. Always check these before you use your gas BBQ.

Soap bubble test – After assembling your BBQ or changing gas cylinders use the soap bubble test to make sure gas cylinders are secure and not leaking. Do this by turning the gas cylinder on and pouring a little soapy solution (1/4 cup of water and a squirt of liquid soap) over the valve. If bubbles form, you may have a gas leak. Turn the valve off and replace the cylinder O-ring. Install cylinders in an upright position.

Weather - It’s best to only light your gas BBQ in calm weather conditions or light winds. Move your gas BBQ (before lighting it) to a sheltered place, if required, but not too close to houses, trees or anything combustible.

Safety zone – Place your gas BBQ on a flat, stable surface. Refer to the manufacturer’s specifications relating to minimum clearances away from combustible fuels.

Extinguish - Have two ways to put out any unplanned fires, within five metres of your BBQ or grill. Use a fire extinguisher for oil, fat or grease fires.

When your fire is lit
Supervise - Ensure someone stays with the gas BBQ until it’s put out. Have a ‘no go zone’ to keep children and pets safe.

Weather -  If a change to the wind direction or speed makes your gas BBQ unsafe — turn it off.

Be responsible - You need to be able to take charge if there’s an emergency, and should not be impaired.

Location – Only use your gas BBQ outside in a well-ventilated area. Never use a gas BBQ inside or in an enclosed area. The gas from your BBQ burns and produces poisonous gases that can be harmful to your health or lethal.

After your fire
Cool down - Allow the BBQ to cool completely before moving it or putting the cover on.

Gas - Turn off the tap at the gas bottle first. This allows gas to clear from the hose. Store the gas bottle upright and connected to the BBQ.

Maintenance - Get your gas BBQ serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cleaning - Thoroughly scrub the drip tray and grill with boiling soapy water. Wipe any oil, fat or grease off the gas jets. Line the drip tray with aluminium foil and put some fat absorber in the tray. It’s a good idea to change the fat absorber after every 10 barbecues.

Dial 111 immediately in an emergency. Anything that could cause loss of life, serious injury or loss of property is a fire emergency.

Charcoal BBQs or grills.
Charcoal barbeque (BBQ) and grills use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as fuel to cook food. Follow the guidance below to keep people and property safe.

Before you light your fire
Other agency requirements - Check council websites for whether this activity is permitted on any public land including beaches. Charcoal BBQs are not permitted on Public Conservation Lands.

Weather - Move your BBQ or grill to a sheltered place, if required.

Smoke - Place your BBQ so that smoke won’t impact others.

Establish a safety zone - Put your BBQ on a stable, level, non-flammable surface such as a BBQ mat/pad (wooden decks),metal tray, gravel, concrete or dirt.  Keep your BBQ more than three metres from buildings and anything else that could catch alight and burn, e.g. plants, grasses, or branches. Don’t use in enclosed areas, e.g. on a balcony, roof overhang.

Extinguish –Keep a garden hose that is turned on and ready to go or buckets of water for other fires.

Don’t light your BBQ if you have any doubts that it is safe.

When your fire is lit
Lighting your fire - Make sure you only use charcoal starter fluid. Never use accelerants such as petrol or kerosene because the vapours can explode.

Fuel - Make sure the you only burn charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal. Have enough to cover the base of the BBQ or grill to a depth of about 5 cm

Fire control - Wait for the flames to die down before cooking. Coals should be covered with grey ash and they are too hot to hold your hand over them. This reduces the risk of flare-ups and potential for unplanned fires. Don’t move the BBQ while it’s lit.

Supervise - Ensure someone stays with the BBQ until it’s put out. Have a ‘no go zone’ to keep children and pets safe.

Weather -  If a change to the wind direction or speed makes your BBQ unsafe — put it out.

Be responsible - You need to be able to take charge if there’s an emergency, and should not be impaired.

After your fire
Extinguish – Close the lid and vents and leave the fire to burn out. When cool, carefully place ashes and embers into a metal container and saturate with water. Extinguished coals and ashes should be placed a safe distance from all structures and combustible materials.

Store - Allow the BBQ or grill to cool completely, if you store it inside.

Dial 111 immediately in an emergency. Anything that could cause loss of life, serious injury or loss of property is a fire emergency.

For a more extensive list click here. https://fireandemergency.nz/

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