New rules for open air burning in Oakville will help protect neighbours from negative impacts of smoke and odour

Wed, 14 May 2014

Oakville’s open air burning by-law has changed to protect residents from the negative impacts of backyard fires on neighbouring properties and to authorize the Fire department to charge fees for responding to by-law violations. Council approved the changes to By-law 2006-174 earlier this year in response to concerns raised by residents.

Under the new by-law, smoke and odour from an outdoor fireplace or fire pit cannot interfere with neighbours’ enjoyment of their property. Fire crews will respond to complaints and fire safety violations, extinguish the offending fire and educate the resident about the by-law requirements for open air burning. After two violations of the by-law, the property owner will be charged a fee of $410 for each Fire department response.

“It’s important that residents and property owners understand and follow the rules for open air burning,” said Oakville Fire Chief Lee Grant. “Our goal is to educate and encourage neighbours to consider each other’s needs so Oakville residents can continue to enjoy safe recreational fires on their property.”

The Fire department has produced the following checklist for recreational burning:

  • Smoke and odour from a fire in an outdoor burning device, fireplace or fire pit cannot impact a neighbour’s ability to enjoy his/her property.
  • Only charcoal or clean, dry, seasoned wood with no preservatives can be burned and must be completely contained within the burning device.
  • The fire pit or open burning device must be located at least three metres (10 feet) from adjacent properties and combustible structures.
  • The fire pit cannot exceed the maximum of 61 centimetres (two feet) in diameter and must have a metal screen with mesh holes no larger than 2.5 centimetres (one inch).
  • The fire pit must be located at grade and be 42 centimetres (16 inches) or less in depth and no more than 21 centimetres (eight inches) above grade, and protected with non-combustible materials such as bricks or stones.
  • A water hose or fire extinguisher (2A rating) must be located nearby.
  • The fire must be supervised at all times by an adult, 18 years of age or older.
  • Burning can only occur between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. and cannot take place during rain, fog, smog alerts or windy conditions (30 kilometres per hour or more).

Residents thinking about installing an outdoor fire pit may want to consider installing a propane or natural gas-burning device that will significantly reduce the negative impact on their neighbourhood.

For more information on open air burning in Oakville, visit the Outdoor fires and barbeques page or call Oakville Fire Safety Education at 905-338-4404.