Fire regulations

Fire status for Canterbury Faire 2023:

As at the 19th January 2023, it is an Open Fire Season with no permits required. Even if there is no fire ban, the site must still give permission, and this will be confirmed at the event.


This is the official fire policy for Canterbury Faire. If you have any questions about anything fire-related at Canterbury Faire, please contact the fire marshal Trudie Griffen (Trudie Graham). In addition, Angele Marie de Savigny (Kerry McSaveney) will monitor the fire season status during Faire.

There are three things that determine whether we can have campfires at the event:

1. The site owners must give permission - their site, their rules.

2. The Fire Season must allow it - Eg, there is no fire ban, and we get a permit during a Restricted Fire Season

3. The weather conditions on the day.

Fire Season

Fire and Emergency New Zealand decides whether outdoor fires are allowed based on recent local weather conditions. The local Fire Season tells us if we need a permit for our campfires and forges, or whether they are prohibited.

The Fire Season can be:

  • Open - no permits are required (but there are some general requirements)
  • Restricted - a permit is required for each fire
  • Prohibited - a total fire ban - no open fires are allowed and permits are revoked

Information about the Fire Season status around the country is available here -

These fire types are affected by the Fire Season:

  • bonfires
  • campfires
  • braziers
  • charcoal or other solid-fuel barbecues
  • forges using solid fuels
  • the clay oven

These flames are up to the site owner to allow or prohibit, and are not affected by the Fire Season:

  • Gas or liquid-fuelled barbecues
  • Candles
  • Oil lamps
  • Torches
  • Lanterns

Fire permits

If there is a Restricted Fire Season, we will apply for permits two weeks before the event.

If you think you will need a fire for the event, you will need to contact the Fire Marshal before that to ensure that your fire can be included in the permit application.

Rules for fires

Check with the Fire Marshal before you set up your fire, as even when we have a permit for fires there are still some restrictions:

  • We need the site owners’ permission to light a fire anywhere on their property. They may choose to allow them only in certain places.
  • You can only light your fire when there is little or no wind forecast.
  • Avoid areas near your tent, structures, vehicles, shrubs and trees, and be aware of low-hanging branches overhead. Clear combustible fuel including unused firewood to at least 3 metres on all sides, and circle your campfire site with rocks.
  • Keep it small - 50cm wide and 50cm high - A campfire is less likely to escape control if it is kept small. A large fire may send hot embers long distances. Add firewood in small amounts as existing material is burned up.
  • Extinguish - Have some way to put out any unplanned fires within five metres of your campfire — e.g. fire-extinguisher, bucket of sand or water.
  • Don’t leave a fire unattended while it’s burning. Extinguish it fully before going to bed. The fire doesn't have to have someone staring at it constantly to be attended — for example, the fire near the Mangy Mongol would be attended if someone awake in the Mong knows that it is still burning.
  • Don’t light your campfire if you have any doubts that it is safe.
  • Dispose of ashes and coals carefully when completely cold.
  • You can’t light a fire by the riverside in any Fire Season - there are signs prohibiting fires there, so if you see a fire  on the riverbank, call 111, then let the Fire Marshal know for liaison purposes.


SCA event rules say that every tent that has people staying in it needs to have fire-fighting materials (fire extinguisher or bucket of sand or water) close at hand, regardless of whether there are BBQs, or candles, or campfires being used nearby. The fire extinguisher for your tent may be needed to save someone else's.

Bunk room heaters should not be used to dry clothing, etc.


  • Site rules state that smoking (and vaping) is prohibited in all buildings.
  • Do not smoke or vape in public spaces like the Mong.
  • Do not smoke or vape near doorways.
  • Use appropriate means of extinguishing cigarettes outside, and make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished before disposing of it in an appropriate receptacle. We have had ashtray fires in the past.
  • During a Prohibited fire season, only smoke on non-grassed areas such as the road behind the Mangy Mongol


  • Gas barbecues, and gas or liquid-fuelled cookers may be used year round.
  • Charcoal barbecues need to follow the same rules as campfires.
  • Site rules say that barbecues can only be used in areas that have access to taps, on the concrete pads provided, or similar non-flammable ground cover.

Candles, Lanterns and Tiki Torches

  • Site rules say that candles must be enclosed in lanterns.
  • Gas lanterns are allowed.
  • Oil lamps consisting of wick in a receptacle of water with a layer of oil are permitted. None of these may be left unattended while lit.
  • Oil-only lamps (like tiki torches) are prohibited by the site owners.