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Hawke’s Bay residents can now burn cyclone waste

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Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council are working together to help rural landowners who want to safely burn waste from Cyclone Gabrielle.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has received an Order in Council (OIC) under the severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act 2023 for the Burning of Cyclone and Flood Waste on commercial scale horticultural and agricultural properties not located in the Hastings or Napier airshed.

The Order in Council temporarily allows open-air burning of cyclone and flood waste in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council General Manager Policy and Regulation, Katrina Brunton says, “The Council acknowledges these measures are extraordinary but the problem many landowners face is equally so. Many farmers and horticulturalists, are under huge stress dealing with the waste from Cyclone Gabrielle with huge piles of waste that are preventing the recovery of their land.”  
Ms. Brunton urged landowners planning to dispose of waste by burning to complete a fire management plan for the burn-offs and follow the advice of Fire and Emergency.
“The fire management plan can be found on Council’s website.  It must be submitted to the Council two days before the planned burning.  If the management plan, or the regulations under the OIC, are not adhered to the Council may take enforcement action,” says Ms. Brunton. 

Fire management plans can be lodged with the Council by clicking here
FENZ Community Risk Manager Nigel Hall said there were some easy steps people could take to keep themselves and their community safe while burning waste.
“We know people want to get rid of the trees, wood and other cyclone waste that is currently littering so many properties after cyclone Gabrielle, but we want them to prepare and be safe.”
Preparing your burn pile:

  • Check if you require a fire permit from Fire and Emergency NZ and ensure you can meet the conditions.
  • Please notify Fire and Emergency NZ when you are going to burn using our normal notification process  If you don’t have internet, you can phone Central Comms (04 801 0812).
  • Ensure material to be burnt, is at least 10 meters away from other combustible material.
  • Create a non-combustible fire break, a minimum of 5 meters around each pile.
  • Keep piles away from under or near power lines (smoke can arc lines) and water ways.
  • Ensure you have an adequate water supply and means to apply water to prevent your fire from spreading.

Safety on the day of lighting:

  • Check the weather forecast before lighting a fire. Ensure winds will not exceed 20km per hour for 48 hours after lighting.
  • Light the pile as early in the day as possible, preferably before 10am.
  • Do not light more than you can manage or fully extinguish.
  • Ensure you are equipped with suitable means to contain and extinguish the fire (e.g. water hose, water sprayer, shovel and dirt to smother, mechanical digger etc.).
  • Those carrying out a burn should wear:
    • Enclosed, sturdy footwear
    • Eye protection
    • Long sleeve shirt and pants
    • Natural materials such as wool or cotton; synthetic materials can melt

 Post fire safety:

  • The fire must be monitored and controlled for the duration of the burn until it is completely out to ensure it does not spread beyond the burn site.
  • Once the fire is completed, cool with plenty of water.
  • Continue monitoring the fire in the days following, especially when strong winds are forecasted. Depending on the material being burnt, piles can remain hot for months after.

If your burn looks like it is going to get out of control, call 111.
For further advice please visit


Need more info?

HBRC Communications Advisor - Brendon Lane | 027 320 3523
FENZ Communications Team | 027 591 8837

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12 September 2023

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