Firefighters are urging people to stop lighting fires after noticing a 250 per cent rise in rubbish fire callouts during lockdown.
The numbers only increased once the fire restrictions were eased earlier this month.
But it appears it's not only more fires, but also old, thoughtless habits of leaving rubbish around, especially takeaway packaging.
National manager community readiness and recovery Steve Turek says firefighters would respond to all emergencies but asked people to stop lighting rubbish fires.
"Between 23 March and 22 April we responded to nearly 750 preventable rubbish fires - more than double the number for the same period last year when we responded to nearly 390 rubbish fires."
While many in rural areas were used to smoke, many are being lit in the cities sparking frustration amongst neighbours.
"Even if a fire is permitted and under control, the smoke often generates a 111 call from well-meaning members of the public.
"Every time this happens, our firefighters need to leave their isolation bubble and risk potential exposure to Covid-19.
"Please consider alternatives to lighting fires if you can and hold off from rubbish fires, garden waste fires, and controlled burn offs, unless it is for essential industry, for example crop farmers."
Hamilton's Te Rapa station officer Brett Couper said although he could understand people had been bored during the lockdown, ever since fire restrictions eased it seemed as though people were lighting fires in their backyard also out of boredom.
"That's where a lot of our calls come from, people light a fire and annoy the neighbours. They ring it in and say there's a fire but it's quite big and we get there and it's an incinerator."
Couper said if the fire was safe and not burning any toxic products which might contain plastics there was not a lot they could do given the open season.
However, he urged people to hold off lighting any fires until restrictions eased further.
"It also saves us from going out and about and putting us at more risk as we're getting into people's bubbles unnecessarily."
The warnings to the public have been coming thick and strong from senior fire staff.
Earlier this month, Raglan fire chief Frank Turner asked locals to stop lighting unnecessary fires after noticing an increase over Easter weekend.
"People are noticing smoke and we get called out to it and we tell them the fire ban hasn't been lifted and they're like 'oh we thought it had rained and was good as gold now'," he told the Herald.
And while battling a blaze caused by a camp fire at Raglan last week, Waikato deputy principal rural fire officer Matt Cook said he had also noticed the increase in people lighting fires in their backyards, annoying neighbours with the smell.
"That's the really peculiar situation of people who have time on their hands and have been collecting rubbish or the rubbish isn't being collected so we're getting a lot of people doing that, a lot of people who are not normally having fires are having fires."
Turek said if someone thought their fire was essential and had applied for a permit, they had to be patient as they were taking longer to process.
"During Covid-19 alert level 3 it may take longer than usual for permit applications to be processed. And when you do burn, burn safely.
"Help us to keep you and our firefighters safe during these unprecedented times by not lighting any outdoor fires."
Meanwhile, the ire of many Kiwis has been heightened after a plethora of photos on social media showing lax behaviour when it came to dumping their rubbish.
A rubbish bin at popular beach lookout spot dubbed 'pig out point' at East End Beach, New Plymouth, overflowing with takeaways rubbish also angered many Kiwis.