We all know the song about chestnuts roasting on an open fire was not written about Christmas in New Zealand.

While you might not be firing up the indoor heating, many people want to take advantage of the summer weather and go camping. And what’s a camping trip without a fire and some marshmallows on a stick?

Can I light a fire this Christmas? Before you make all your plans campfire-dependant, you need to check that you are allowed to go ahead with one.
Find out more in the rest of our article.

At Jim’s Fire Safety we are passionate about fire safety and awareness. That’s why we’ve created a series of festive fire safety blogs to help you stay safe over the holidays. For more information about our protection services, including extinguisher testing, fire blanket testing, and hose reel inspection, browse through the rest of our website.

Can I light a fire? Check before you light.

Our favourite friends at Fire and Emergency New Zealand have a dedicated page on their website to help you figure out whether it is ok to light a fire. You can take a look their website here.

There are a few factors that can influence your ability to legally light a fire. They include:

  • Fire season NZ — your location, the weather, and the time of year will affect the rules about whether you can light a fire. Christmas falls during the fire season.
  • Your local council rules
  • Conservation legalisation
  • Public or private property

The easiest way to figure out if you can light a fire is to apply for a permit. If you can’t obtain a permit, you shouldn’t be lighting a fire. You can find more information and apply for a permit at https://www.firepermit.nz .

Do I need a permit? You do not require a permit if it is lit in a permanent fireplace which has been positioned and constructed by Department of Conservation (DOC) to minimise the threat of fire spread and is located within formally established DOC overnight campsites or day time amenity areas. During a total fire ban, you must not light a fire.

Fire Safety Tips for Campfires

Can I light a fire? If it is not a total fire ban and you have the right permit, you are good to go. Even if you are allowed to light a fire, you still need to put some effort in and make sure it is safe.

Follow these tips to look after your campsite:

  • Place your fire away from sleeping areas, vehicles, trees, and flammable items.
  • Keep your fire small and manageable.
  • Don’t leave your fire unattended.
  • Use water to put out your fire and check that it is cold before leaving.
  • Do not bury your fire — this could cause re-ignition.

Fore more information about fire safety for camping in general, take a look at our other blogpost. We have a whole list of tips that will help you make sure your campsite is fire safe.

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