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Excessively smokey fires are a nuisance and cause health problems and the Council will take action against people who have fires that cause such adverse effects.
The Council recognises that some vegetation waste may need to be burnt, including diseased material from orchards. However, anyone lighting an outdoor fire must manage it to reduce smoke. Good practice guidance is available through the Council’s website (Guidelines for Good Practice), plus from Council Service Centres or the Rural Fire Network.
The Council deals with numerous complaints about smoke and gets frequent requests for tougher regulation, including requiring resource consents for rural fires. Burning is a permitted activity, allowing it to be used as a land management tool, but it must be done in a way that reduces the risk of nuisances.
Good practice means making sure material is dry enough to burn vigorously, generating only a minimal amount of smoke. Some material, such as macrocarpa branches, will take months, not days, to be dry enough to burn without causing problems.
The burning of treated timber or plastics is prohibited as they produce toxic smoke. Any synthetic twine or clips should be removed before the vegetation is burned, and plastic pipe used for irrigating crops should not be burned either. Remember also that you can recycle agrichemical plastic containers through the Agrecovery rural recycling programme. Plastic silage wrap can also be recycled.
Where a fire is suspected of breaking the rules, the Council will investigate and may take enforcement action. This can include infringement fines or abatement notices.