Light an Outdoor Fire

Wellington City Council enforces a restricted fire season throughout the year. That means if you want to light an outdoor fire, you need a fire permit. Failure to obtain one is an offence against Council bylaws and the Forest and Rural Act 1977.

You can obtain a permit for a maximum period of 1 year. Applications require an inspection and are processed within 7 working days.

All fires in the open must be extinguished by nightfall.

At high-risk times the Council may change the restricted status to a prohibited season, banning outdoor fires completely.

Fire permit not required

Gas-fuelled barbecues and charcoal barbecues started with a liquid accelerant and fuelled by charcoal briquettes only, can be used anywhere at any time, no permit required.

Fire permit required

You need a permit for any open fire, including the following outdoor activities:

  • hangi
  • umu
  • non-gas barbecues
  • charcoal barbecues when using paper and wood
  • brazier
  • camp fires
  • chimenea
  • cooking fires
  • rubbish fires
  • incinerators

Apply for a fire permit

The Council processes the following types of fire permits:

  • Beach - free
  • Urban areas - $25
  • Developers - $50

Fire permit applications usually take 5 - 7 working days to process and can be paid for in the Council Service Centre at 101 Wakefield Street.

Fire Permit Application (119KB PDF)

Rural fire permits

The Wellington Rural Fire Authority processes rural fire permits - to find out more and apply for one, go to: 
Wellington Rural Fire Authority


The only beaches where you can have an open fire or non-gas barbecue (with a permit) are those at:

  • Houghton Bay
  • Princess Bay

A location inspection is required for each coastal fire permit application for these sites.

Outdoor fire tips

  • Get a permit in advance
  • Light fires in a clear area
  • Do not light fires in strong winds
  • Supervise the fire at all times
  • Always have a water supply for fire-fighting handy
  • Use a sturdy metal container with good ventilation
  • Use a fine mesh guard over the container to prevent burning debris and embers from escaping
  • Burn only dry plants, leaves and branches, wood, paper and cardboard
  • Do not burn plastics or newly cut vegetation