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Rural Fire

Gisborne District Rural Fire Authority

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Rural Fire

The Gisborne District Council Rural Fire Authority protects an area of land exceeding 429,000 hectares. This excludes areas of land under the jurisdiction of the NZ Fire Service, Eastland Rural Fire District (commercial forestry), Department of Conservation and Pumicelands Rural Fire District. 

Fire season status today

A permanent restricted fire season applies to all urban and coastal areas. 

Area Fire Season Requirements
Rural Open Conditions apply - check with us first
Rural townships
see map
Restricted Permit required - apply online
City - incl. Wainui
see map
Restricted Permit required - apply online
Beaches and coastal areas Restricted Permit required. Gas cookers or barbecues don't require a permit.

No permit is required for gas cookers or gas barbecues.

To apply for a permit or for more information about fire permits

Check the district's fire weather data on National Rural Fire Authority's website  

Read or download the pamphlet - Is your property at risk from fire? 

Rural fire season definitions   Rural fire pamphlet

The 3 fire seasons are:


This only ever applies to rural areas.  Some conditions apply, please check with us first.
No fires are permitted after dark.

A permanent restricted fire season applies to all gazetted forests and Department of Conservation territories including a 1 km wide fire safety zone around these properties within the Gisborne district. You must apply to the Department of Conservation or Council for a permit.


Fire by permit only.  Any person that lights a fire in the open air must have a written fire permit from the fire authority DoC or Council. 

Check information about fire permits


This means a total fire ban.  Lighting a fire in the open air (ie. outside) during a total fire ban is an offence. 
Banned open air fires include camp fires, bonfires, rubbish fires, incinerators, braziers, cooking fires such as hangi, lovo and umu, flying lanterns.  Gas cookers and gas barbecues are not included in the ban.
Some exceptions for hangi may be made, for more information contact us.

A permanent restricted fire season applies to all plantation forests within the Eastland Rural District territory including a 1km wide zone around these properties.  Application for a fire permit can be made to Council.

Take extra care - fires cost

Fires can start very easily in dry conditions so be careful when operating: farm equipment, mowers, grinders, welders, chainsaws, power tools, vehicles, tractors and machinery. All it takes is a small spark or a hot engine to start a fire.

Safeguard against starting an accidental fire by using spark arrestors, have fire suppression equipment nearby and use well-maintain machinery.

Plan your work activities to minimise the risk of a fire starting - and if it does, make sure you can put it out safely and call for help quickly.

Anyone who causes a fire will almost certainly be held liable for the cost of fire-fighting and the damage caused by the fire (under Section 43 of the Forest & Rural Fires Act).  Lighting a fire during a total fire ban is an offence against the Act and is subject to prosecution.  

Insurance protection - how's your cover?

Do you have insurance protection to cover any potential fire related costs, losses and liabilities? You need to consider:

  1. Insurance of property for loss and replacement from fire: for your house, household items, other buildings, vehicles, plant and machinery, forests and crops.
  2. Public liability insurance: to cover the cost of damage and loss to a third party from anything (including fire) that escapes from your property and damages other parties property.
  3. Forest & Rural Fires Act fire suppression insurance: to cover the costs of fire suppression from a fire caused by you or started on your property. Cover is required under Section 43, 46 and 46A of the Forest & Rural Fires Act 1977.

Check your insurance policy today.  Talk to your insurer to confirm cover and appropriate limits.

Fire danger or complaints

If there is immediate danger to people or property - ring 111

If there's no immediate danger to people or property - such as your neighbour is lighting their incinerator when you have washing on the line, please contact us or tell us on an eFix form   

The 4x4 rule

If a fire breaks out, many rural property owners face an increased risk due to their remote location and the distance from the nearest fire brigade.  Our response can be compromised by our fire appliances not being able to gain access onto driveways due to overhanging branches or narrow gates and fence lines.  There can also be issues with no clear pathways to water resources on properties.

Remember the 4x4 rule - in an emergency it's critical our fire appliances and crews can get to you as soon as possible.
Access to driveways and water supplies must have a width and height clearance of at least 4 metres.

If you ever have to call 111, always quote your RAPID number and ensure it's clearly displayed on your mailbox.


Gisborne District Council has a statutory obligation to carry out the functions of a Rural Fire Authority as set out within the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977, and the Forest and Rural Fires Regulations 2005.

The day-to-day management of rural fires is carried out by the Principal Rural Fire Officer (PRFO).  The Principal RFO is responsible for the management of our rural fire stations, equipment, public awareness and the operational prevention, suppression and control of fires.

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