April fire ban lifted in Scugog township, said Chief Mark Berney
COURTNEY McCLURE, Intern to The Standard
SCUGOG: Every April the Scugog fire department sets a burn ban across the township. This ban has been lifted once again. The ban is put in place because, according to Scugog’s fire chief, Mark Berney, April is the start of Ontario’s brush and grassfire season. He added, that at the start of Spring, the dead tips of the grass and old vegetation laying on the grass, like leaves, can burn very easily, even when they appear to be wet. Fire Chief Berney was the one who announced the ban’s lift, during the General Purpose and Administration meeting on May 4th. “We evaluated leading up to May 1st and given the fact that the grass and fields were much greener, we felt it was safe to lift the ban,” stated Chief Berney. The Township of Scugog’s manager of communications, Lori Bowers, said she posted a notice update regarding the ban on Thursday, May 7th. According to the Fire Chief, they have received over 1000 applications for fire permits from residents. “We thank all residents for their patience as we manage the influx of permit requests,” he said. Chief Berney said the fire department is asking residents to fill out an online application when they wish to request a permit. Then the department will receive the application and will review it to make sure all of the information is filled out correctly. After which they will assign the request, a permit number and send an email to the applicant, within three business days, detailing payment instructions. Once the fire department has received the receipt for the payment, they will send a second email telling the applicant that their permit is now active. The application for a permit is available on the Township of Scugog’s website, at www.scugog.ca/burnpermit. The only exclusions listed are burnings fueled by natural gas and propane. His advice to residents who get their permit approved is to: watch the fire at all times; keep water or a fire extinguisher handy, in case the fire gets out of hand, keep the fire contained within a pit, fire ring, chiminea, or a potbellied oven. He also added, make sure children and pets, who are around the fire, are supervised at all times. The ban can be put back in place if the Scugog fire department receives an influx of calls, or if outdoor weather conditions are too dry to maintain a safe fire. Fire Chief Berney reminds permit holders to follow the department’s safety tips, which are available online on the township’s website.