Burning FAQs

These are the most common questions we are  asked. You can find comprehensive guidance on issues relating to burning in the Air Plan.

The answer to your question will depend upon what you want to burn, how big your property is and where you live. Your city or district council may also have restrictions on whether you can burn outdoors.

 

General questions

Outdoor burning is burning in the ground, on the ground, or in a container, outside of a building. It includes burning in a heap, burning in a drum, burning of standing vegetation, campfires, barbecues, bonfires, hangis, umus and braziers or other solid fuel patio heaters and appliances.

Smoke from burning gets up your nose, in your eyes and in your clothes. It can be very toxic or just a nuisance to neighbours. Air pollution can be the source of many complaints to us, particularly in urban areas.

There are regulations controlling outdoor burning in all parts of Otago. But it is in Air Zones 1 and 2 that we have the most concerns about air quality. The regulations are toughest in those airsheds. Go to an Air Zone map closest to you to see if you are inside its boundaries.

Email your query to us, or if it's urgent call the Pollution Hotline on 0800 800 033.

 


Air Zones 1 and 2: household burning outdoors

You can if the fire is more than 50 metres from any boundary, and the smoke must not be a nuisance to your neighbours. Because you live in Air Zone 1 or 2, it is highly unlikely that your property will be big enough to make sure your fire is 50 metres from any boundary.

If the location of the fire is less than 50 metres from any boundary then you require a resource consent. Better still, find an alternative way of disposing your rubbish.

Paper, cardboard, plant matter and untreated wood. The material must be dry. The plant material must not be green, so you can't burn material just cut from living plants. Wood must not be painted, varnished or treated, or contain glues or other plastics.

The fire must be 50 metres from any boundary and the smoke must not be a nuisance to your neighbours. Because you live in Air Zone 1 or 2, it is highly unlikely that your property will be big enough to make sure your fire is 50 metres from any boundary.

Only if it is dry paper and cardboard, or dried plant material. Check the list of materials you can't burn.

The fire must be 50 metres from any boundary and the smoke must not be a nuisance to your neighbours. Because you live in Air Zone 1 or 2, it is highly unlikely that your property will be big enough to make sure your fire is 50 metres from any boundary.

Any rubber including tyres, rubber tubes, and foam rubber.

Any treated timber including plywood, chipboard, particle board and fibreboard.
Used oil and other petrol related products. This includes oil, diesel, and turpentine.

Food waste.

Any chemicals, including garden sprays and agricultural chemicals.

All plastics, including disposal nappies.

Paints of all kinds including varnish, glues, adhesives, and polyurethanes.

Yes - providing you set it up so it is more than 50 metres from all your boundaries. The smoke must not be a nuisance to the neighbours at the boundary. Because you live in Air Zone 1 or 2, it is highly unlikely that your property will be big enough to make sure your fire is 50 metres from any boundary.

Yes - providing the smoke, ash and smell do not cause a nuisance to your neighbours at or beyond the boundary.

Yes - providing the smoke, odour, ash, etc do not cause a nuisance to your neighbours at or beyond the boundary of your property. Check with your city or district council on their requirements for celebratory bonfires. Talk to your neighbours.


Air Zones 1 and 2: business and commercial burning outdoors

The same as for households but your fire must be greater than 100 metres from the nearest dwelling on another property.


Rest of Otago: burning outdoors that's not on production land

You can burn outdoors as long as the material is dry - paper, cardboard, plant matter or untreated wood are all OK. The plant material must not be green, so you can't burn material just cut from living plants. Wood must not be painted, varnished or treated, or contain glues or other plastics.

The fire must not cause a nuisance to your neighbours or anyone else beyond your property boundary, including road users.

For most materials, we recommend you avoid having the fire and use another disposal method instead.


Indoors

Speak with your neighbour first. Otherwise call the Pollution Hotline.

Any solid fuel fire needs to be approved.

View approved solid fuel burners ORC and MfE.

Outdoor Burning Brochure

View the Outdoor Burning Brochure 2017

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