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Recreational Fires

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One of the most common questions raised by residents is “Can I have a small outdoor fire on my property”?

The answer is “yes”, but there are some stipulations that must be followed in order to maintain a high degree of safety, as well as consideration for our neighbors.

Generally, outdoor fires are categorized by their size and purpose and are broken down into three types.  Recreational fires, Bon-fires and Open Burning. 

Bon-fires are larger outdoor fires used for ceremonial purposes usually in conjunction with a recognized event or celebration.  A bon-fire cannot be ignited without first obtaining a permit from the Fire Prevention Bureau.

Open Burning refers to outdoor fires not inclusive of recreational fires or Bon-fires for recognized  range or wildlife management or the management of disease or pests.  These types of fires cannot be ignited without first obtaining the prescribed permits.

Recreational Fires are outdoor fires burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel is not contained within a portable outdoor fireplace, or Bar-B-Que grill or open flame cooking device, outdoor fireplace incinerator, or Bar-B-Que  pit and with a fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.  Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material.  Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.  Recreational fires do not require a permit.

Fires in portable outdoor fireplaces are permitted but must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and must not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.  Bar-B-Que grills, charcoal burners and other open flame cooking devices must not be operated on balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction. ( This includes almost any building, decks, tool sheds, fences, etc.)

The fuel being burned in an outdoor fire must be cleaned, seasoned firewood or an equivalent clean burning fuel.  Trash, yard waste, leaves and the like may not be burned.

Someone must always be present when an outdoor fire is burning until it is completely extinguished.  A means to extinguish the fire must be on hand while the fire is burning and immediately available for use.  This could be a garden hose, or a portable fire extinguisher.

If the outdoor fire is creating a nuisance or a hazard, or is otherwise objectionable, the fire department may ask you to extinguish it, even if you have met the other requirements.