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Burn Bans, Permits and By-Laws

Burn ban hazard sign

Burn Index: Low

The current burn hazard index is set to low. Residents are asked to use caution if they are burning. Fires should be supervised by an adult at all times and a means of controlling fires should be present.

Open air burning  

What is Open-air Burning? Open burning or open-air burning means any fire or burning practice that is conducted outside a building and includes but is not limited to, small confined fires (e.g. campfires) and large confined fires, fires in burn barrels, in air curtain incinerators, outdoor recreational fireplaces (e.g. fire pits, fire bowls, chimineas), prescribed burning, and construction site and demolition site fires.

Kawartha Lakes By-Law 2016-110 outlines all open air burning regulations in the City. You must meet these requirements when burning:

  • fires cannot be lit during burn bans
  • fires cannot be lit during the month of April, this annual burn ban may be extended due to dry weather conditions
  • fires cannot be lit during smog alerts
  • weather conditions must be good for clearing smoke
  • fires may not be lit when wind causes unsafe conditions
  • fires must be supervised by an adult at all times
  • fires must be fully extinguished at the completion of a burn event
  • equipment for controlling and extinguishing fires must be available at the burn location
  • clean dry wood is the only material that may be burned
  • painted wood, leaves, grass clippings, garbage and other materials may not be burned
  • flying lanterns may not be sold or used within the City

Download the Burn By-Law 2020 Quick Reference Guide for more information.

Campfires - permit not required

A person may have an open fire without obtaining a permit for the purpose of burning clean dry wood provided the conditions below are met, and/or providing no other City-wide or provincial burn bans are in effect:

  • the fire area is no larger than 60 cm (2 feet) in diameter;
  • the fire area is supervised at all times by an adult person;
  • the fire area is within an approved area, burn barrel, or pit designed for said use;
  • the fire area does not violate any other laws, by-laws, rules or regulations including rules or regulations passed by any competent authority or otherwise set out in this By-law;
  • the fire area shall be a minimum of fifteen 15 m from any building or other structures and 5 m from any fences, trees brush piles or combustible materials and property lines.
  • Grass, Clippings or Leaves: No person shall have an open fire for the purpose of burning grass clippings, or leaves

 Burn barrels - permit not required 

Burn barrels are permitted under the following conditions:

  • burn barrel is not used in a built up area
  • barrel must be constructed of metal and be in good condition
  • a heavy duty screen with mesh not greater than 7 mm is placed on top of the barrel
  • holes must be punched in the side of the barrel
  • steel rods or pipe must be placed through the holes to hold burning material up and allow a fast burn
  • the ground must be cleared and free of vegetation in a 2 m radius around the barrel
  • draft holes at the bottom of the barrel are no larger than 2.5 cm in diameter

Natural gas and propane appliances

The by-law, however does not apply to propane or gas fuelled barbecues, grills, cooking appliances or gas fireplaces approved for outdoor use by the Technical  Standards and Technical Safety Authority of Ontario (T.S.S.A.) or other approval agency and listed by ULC or CSA.

  • They are not permitted on some apartment balconies or in condominium complexes (check your building's rules)
  • Be sure to review and follow all safety precautions noted with the unit
  • They may be used during an imposed burn ban
  • They do not produce smoke or odours that irritate neighbours

Learn before you burn

Whether you are having a campfire or open-air burn on your property, you could be invoiced/ fined if you are:

  • Burning during a burn ban
  • Burning without a permit
  • Burning anything other than natural wood/brush
  • Burning too close to buildings, combustibles, property boundaries and roadways
  • Not following other sections of the by-law

Remember, if the fire department is called and no authorization has been obtained, you are liable to pay service fees for the fire department response and/or charged under the Kawartha Lakes Open Air Burning By-Law 2016-110 or both.  Our INSERT FEES AND SERVICES BY LAW provides further information. 

Regardless of authorization, the person that starts the fire is responsible for any effect that fire or smoke may have on neighbouring persons or property.

Ontario Fire Code 2.4.4.4.

The Ontario Fire Code (2.4.4.4.) prohibits all open air burning except for small confined cooking fires and other fires that have been “approved” by the Fire Chief or Designate.

(1) Open-air burning shall not take place unless
     (a) it has been approved, or
     (b) the open-air burning consists of a small, confined fire that is

         (i) used to cook food on a grill, barbecue or spit,
         (ii) commensurate with the type and quantity of food being cooked, and

         (iii) supervised at all times.

(2) Sentence (1) does not apply to the use of an appliance that
     (a) meets the requirements of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000,

     (b) is for outdoor use,

     (c) if assembled, has been assembled in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and

     (d) if installed, has been installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

At no time is it permissible to burn leaves, rubbish or anything else that is not related to cooking as described above. Any open air burning that does not meet the above requirements in the Ontario Fire Code shall be extinguished.

Burn permits

During the State of Emergency Open Air Burning Permits can be applied for by emailing burnpermits@kawarthalakes.ca include the following details:

Type of permit requested
Applicant First and Last name
Phone number
Home address
Burning site address
Method of controlling and extinguishing fire (i.e. hose, water pails, heavy equipment)  
Written permission from the property owner, if the property you wish to burn on is not owned by the applicant

Permits will not be issued within a “built up area” as defined by By-law 2016-110:
“built up area” means an area with buildings on one or both sides of the road with 23 metres or less between them with a minimum grouping of five buildings.  Building means school, church, residential dwelling, commercial and industrial structure.

Once processed your permit will be emailed to you. Cheque and online payment options available. 

Please note some types of permits may require the Fire Service to conduct a site visit. It can take up to seven business days for you to receive a site visit.

Regular burn permit

  2020 Cost: $11.00

  • required for fires up to 1 m3
  • valid for one burn event
  • burn events must be conducted a minimum of 15 m from any building or other structures and 5 m from any fences, trees brush piles or combustible materials and property lines.

Annual regular burn permit 

 2020 Cost: $54.00

  • required for fires up to 1 m3
  • valid until December 31 of the year issued
  • burn events must be conducted a minimum of 15 m from any building or other structures and 5 m from any fences, trees brush piles or combustible materials and property lines.

Special burn permit

 2020 Cost: $22.00

  • required for fires larger than 1 m3
  • valid for one burn event
  • special provisions for containment and control may be required
  • a site visit may be required

Long term special burn permit

2020 Cost: $43.00

  • required for fires larger than 1 m3
  • valid for multiple burn events held during a specific time frame
  • special provisions for containment and control may be required
  • a site visit may be required

Agricultural burn permit

 2020 Cost: $22.00

  • required for burns on farm properties that are part of normal farm practices
  • valid until December 31 of the year issued
  • maximum burn size of 3 m by 3 m
  • burns must be at least 50 m away from buildings and 25 m away from trees, fences, brush piles or other combustible materials

Agricultural special burn permit 

2020 Cost: $43.00

  • required for burns on farm properties that are part of normal farm practices
  • burn size exceeding 3 m by 3 m
  • burns must be at least 50 m away from buildings and 25 m away from trees, fences, brush piles or other combustible materials
  • a site visit may be required

Campgrounds, trailer parks and tourist camps 

If you own a campground, trailer park or tourist camp you must get an annual permit for campfires within your facility. You can do this by contacting the City Licensing Officer.

 

Fireworks

Application For Permit - Public Display of Fireworks

You need a permit to sell fireworks and perform a public display of fireworks within Kawartha Lakes as part of Firework By-Law 2007-236. You do not need a permit to use consumer fireworks. Requirements to follow when using consumer fireworks include:

  • children shall not discharge fireworks
  • children may us a sparkler under the supervision of an adult
  • fireworks may not be discharged into any motor vehicle, building or structure
  • you must get written permission from the owner to discharge fireworks on property you do not own
  • fireworks shall be discharged a minimum of 30 m from any structure or property line
  • fireworks may not be discharged closer than 100 m from a church, school, residential care facility or place where explosives are sold or stored
  • fireworks may not be discharged during a burn ban
  • fireworks shall be discharged in accordance with the manufacturer's directions
  • fireworks are not to be discharged on municipal lands without authorization

Download the Firework By-Law 2020 Quick Reference Guide for more information.

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