Council promotes ‘firewise’ message with amends to bylaw

17 December 2015

With the summer season almost here, Wellington City Council is introducing some amendments to the fire bylaw to minimise risk, address public safety and nuisance concerns.

Following working with the Fire Service and a public consultation process, the Council review identified several areas of the current fire bylaw that could be improved upon.

Key proposed amendments approved by the Community, Sport and Recreation Committee, and have now come into effect include:

  • allow for more types of cooking and heating fires to be lit outdoors, on private land, without a permit. These would include wood-fired pizza ovens, braziers and chimenea, but not hangi or umu fires
  • make it clear which fires on private land require a permit
  • make it clear that all fires in public places require a permit
  • limit the circumstances in which a fire can be used to burn rubbish
  • include information on how to safely manage a fire
  • include more information about how to apply for permits and fees
  • give the Council powers to extinguish an outdoor fire that does not comply with the bylaw (which can then be delegated to the Fire Service).

Councillor Paul Eagle, Chair of the Community, Sport and Recreation Committee, supported the amends to the bylaw.

“Fire prevention is a year-round objective, but during the summer months it becomes a high risk issue and a major concern for us and the Fire Service regarding public safety in the capital. The fire bylaw amendments approved go a long way to ensuring safety awareness when it comes to barbecues and outdoor fires over summer – weather permitting!

“The amended fire bylaw will provide an opportunity to educate the public about what fires are allowed and how to minimise the risk to life and properties – firewise knowledge for young and old is vital to reduce risk and keep everyone safe,” adds Cr Eagle.

All bylaws must be reviewed every 10 years under the terms of the Local Government Act 2002. The amended fire bylaw comes into effect today (Thursday 17 December 2015).