NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHAS: With the weather warming up, it is important for residents living in the townships of Scugog, Uxbridge, and Kawartha Lakes to be aware of the by-laws around open fires.
In Scugog and Uxbridge, a recreational burn permit is required for anyone wishing to have fires in their backyard or an open space. For people living in the Kawartha Lakes a burn permit is only required if the fire exceeds two feet in diameter.
According to Uxbridge fire chief, Phil Alexander, obtaining permits and following the by-laws lessens the strain on the fire department.
“It is important that you follow the terms of the by-law.” He said, “It prevents unnecessary nuisance calls when people are burning illegally.”
The Uxbridge fire department receives complaints two to three times a week for illegal open air fires, according to the chief.
Burning without a permit or causing an adverse effect to the community can result in a fine, for the townships services used in extinguishing the fire.
“Under the by-law we are eligible to recover our cost of the response, so we bill for each truck that was needed to respond, as well as each volunteer firefighter,” said Jacqueline Bjorklund, administrative assistant for Scugog’s fire services.
The costs are hourly and are based on how many firefighters and fire trucks are called to the scene. The hourly cost of each firefighter is $34 an hour, and each truck is $450 an hour.
Recreational burn permits can be purchased in Scugog for $30, and remain valid until December 31st of each year, covering fires up to 0.5 cubic meters.
In Uxbridge recreational burn permits can be, obtained for free, renewed annually, and are for fires up to 75 centimetres in diameter.
In Kawartha Lakes a single-use regular burn permit can be purchased for $10 and an annual burn permit can be purchased for $50. These permits cover fires up to a cubic metre in size.
General provisions for open air or recreational fires include: not leaving a fire unattended, until it is fully extinguished; and having sufficient equipment readily available to extinguish the fire.
Fires should be a minimum of 15 meters away from any structures, overhead wires, and roadways.
Under weather conditions which are extremely dry, or limit the rapid dissipation of smoke, fires should not be started.
A city-wide burn ban is issued by the townships fire department, if there is poor air quality or weather conditions which can result in the rapid spread of a fire.
“A fire is more likely to get out of control during a burn ban period,” Jacqueline said.
During a burn ban the fire department will not activate burn permits or allow for any day time burning. Exception for small recreational fires during the evening hours, for individuals with a recreational burn permits, are sometimes made.
Mrs. Bjorklund said, when people follow the guidelines and burning by-laws it makes for a safer community.
“I think its really important people follow the guidelines on the burn permit. So that they burn responsibly.” She said, “And get there burn permit so that we know that their burning in a safe location.”