DOC fire rangers at training

Image: DOC


DOC supports Fire and Emergency New Zealand with suppressing fires on public conservation land.

DOC is no longer a rural fire authority. Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) has taken over this responsibility for all of New Zealand.

DOC will support FENZ with suppressing fires on public conservation land and other areas where FENZ requires assistance. 

A 365-day a year restricted fire season applies to all public conservation land with the exception of campfires for cooking and warmth, and approved fireplaces in campgrounds.

Direct any further enquires about fires on public conservation land to your nearest DOC office

Call 111 if you see or start a wildfire. 

Why DOC fights fires

Wildfires can put lives at risk, destroy property, and devastate natural areas. Fire poses a serious risk to public conservation land and their natural, cultural, historical and recreational values.

If a fire occurs, putting it out takes priority over all other work. During periods of high to extreme fire danger, DOC staff carry their fire kits where ever they are working so they can respond to a fire call.

Fire bans

A fire ban, or prohibited fire season, is declared when conditions are such that any fire is likely to put life and property at risk. During a prohibited fire season, no fires can be lit in the open air and all fire permits are cancelled.

DOC fire staff calculate the daily fire danger. They use weather patterns and conditions to predict the likelihood of a fire occurring, and, if it does occur, how difficult it will be to manage. They monitor wind, rainfall, relative humidity and other indicators via remote weather stations scattered throughout the countryside, and this enables them to calculate the fire risk. 

Causes of wildfires

Most fires are due to carelessness; either when permitted or non-permitted fires get out of control, or when a campfire is not fully put out before leaving a campsite.  

The weather plays a major role in how many fires start, how intense they are, the damage done and how difficult they are to extinguish.


The key legislation relating to rural fire management is the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017.

Back to top