Fires and Permits

STATUS: Outdoor fires are currently BANNED in the urban Masterton area under the Fires in the Open Air bylaw.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Wairarapa Tararua District manages all rural fire management, prevention, and suppression in the Wairarapa Tararua District. 

Current status of the fire season (rural): OPEN
Click here for more information


Fire PermitsFire Seasons
Rural and Urban Fires


Fire Permits


When do I need a fire permit?

You’ll need a fire permit to light a fire in a rural area during a restricted fire season.

Even if you have a permit you are still responsible for a fire that spreads and causes damage. Failure to obtain a permit for a fire is an offence against the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977. A Fire Permit is not a legal defence against claims for damage caused by a fire.

You can apply for a fire permit online. You will need to allow up to 3 working days for your permit to be issued.


Fire Seasons


Open Fire Season

No fire permit is needed to light a fire in the open air. You are responsible for any consequences should the fire escape control.

Restricted Fire Season

A fire permit is required to light a fire in the open air in rural areas. You are responsible for any consequences should the fire escape control.

Prohibited Fire Season

A total fire ban is in place, and lighting of fires is not permitted in the open air.
The fire seasons change as the fire danger changes. An Open Fire Season is normally in place throughout the Winter months, early Spring and late Autumn. As we get drier through Spring and the fire danger increases, the Rural Fire Authority will declare a Restricted Fire Season. A Prohibited Fire Season will be declared when the fire danger is very high or extreme.

Reporting dangerous fires

If you see smoke or fire and you think it looks threatening, dial 111 for the fire service.

Items you should never burn:

  • Chemicals
  • Materials that can produce toxic gases when burnt
  • Food waste
  • Metals
  • Paints and varnishes, etc
  • Animal carcasses
  • Pesticides
  • Plastics
  • Rubber – including tyres and items which contain rubber and plastic, such as old furniture
  • Treated timber
  • Waste oil or petroleum products


Rural and Urban Fires


The following conditions apply for anyone lighting a fire or hangi on private property in an urban area or within a town boundary:

  • You don’t need a permit
  • You must have a water supply on site with hose attached
  • The fire must be attended at all times and extinguished when you’re finished
  • No fires may be lit when it’s windy
  • Fires are only permitted to be lit during daylight hours
  • It’s an offence to cause smoke nuisance to neighbours
  • Inform your neighbours of your intention to burn


Rural Fire Forces


Masterton has five rural fire forces. If you think you’d like to become a rural fire volunteer, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Wairarapa & Tararua District would love to hear from you. Please phone (06) 370 9557 or enquire on their website.

Fires in public reserves, including beaches


No fire is to be lit on any reserve or beach without a fire permit or written consent from the Council.

You can contact the local fire brigade at:

2 Chapel Street
P: 06 370 9550
F: 06 370 9556
[email protected]

You can contact Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Wairarapa & Tararua District at:

M: 027 289 9609
P: 06 370 9557
[email protected]