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 Application (42KB PDF)

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.

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