Haldimand County Fire Department is urging the public to practice fire safety and comply with the municipal open air burning by-law following an increase in calls and complaints about unsafe fires.

“As Haldimand County moves into Stage 2 of Ontario’s re-opening plan, there are more opportunities to gather and enjoy recreational pursuits outdoors. Campfires are a quintessential part of summer for many, but it’s crucial that they comply with the Open Air Burning By-Law,” said Jason Gallagher, Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief. “COVID-19 has placed added pressure on emergency services and we need the public’s cooperation to prevent these avoidable fire calls,” he added.

Recreational fires (e.g. campfires) are allowed in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations set out in the Open Air Burn By-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained and supervised at all times and that it is set back at least 10 meters from combustible buildings/structures. A means of extinguishing the fire must be available and measures must be in place to ensure that no one is adversely affected by the products of combustion (smoke and odours).

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in certain areas of the County and require a burn permit. Currently, interim burn permits are available for rural residents at no cost and may be obtained by contacting the Haldimand County Fire Department (905-318-5932). Interim burn permits are available by appointment only, as all County facilities are temporarily closed to the public.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone conducting an open air fire that violates the by-law are subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

Anyone with questions about fire safety or the open-air burning by-law is encouraged to contact the Haldimand County Fire Department at 905-318-5932. A number of helpful resources, including a Safe Fire Guide, is available at HaldimandCounty.ca.