Open Air Burning
The Ontario Fire Code prohibits all open-air burning except for small confined cooking fires and other fires that have been "approved" by the Chief Fire Official. The information here describes the policy by which limited open-air burning may be permitted.
Open air burning is defined as any fire intentionally ignited outside of a structure or building that does not include the following exemptions:
- Fires within an enclosed barbecue or other type of appliance including "hibachis", non-combustible barbeques, or other manufactured type devices used in the intent and manner as designed to burn natural untreated wood or charcoal fuels. Such appliances must include a protective grate over the fuel and/or chimney where applicable and are permitted to be used subject to this policy.
- The use of non-combustible appliances shall be limited in use to permit a maximum size of burning materials in the appliance shall be not greater than 45 cm (18 inch) by 45 cm (18 inch) or the size of the container design.
- The use of manufactured burning appliances shall be restricted to an area with a minimum spatial separation of three (3) metres (10 feet) from property lines, structures or other objects, or at times when wind speeds do not exceed 15 kilometres per hour (10 mph)
- Liquid or gas fuelled appliances listed for use outdoors by an accredited testing laboratory;
Open-Air Burning Zones
Open-Air Burning Zones have been established to recognize that there are areas within the City of Kingston where open-air burning may be approved under certain conditions without creating hazardous situations or undue environmental risks.
The "North Zone"
Authorization to conduct small, safe open-air fires may be obtained, under certain conditions, for properties located within the North Zone by contacting the Fire Communications Centre at 548-4001, Ext. "0". The North Zone includes:
- Collins Creek and all lands west that are north of the CNR tracks;
- Highway 401, Middle Road. and all lands north;
- Abbey Dawn Road. and all lands east.
Authorization will be limited to clean brush or lumber. The fuel pile may not exceed 3 feet in any dimension. Additional instructions for safety and environmental considerations will be provided which must be observed while burning.
The "South Zone"
The "South Zone" includes all property in the City of Kingston that is not located in the North Zone. Authorization for open-air burning will not be issued for properties in the South Zone with the exception of recognized recreational areas, Crown lands or working farms.
In addition, approval to conduct open-air burning may be authorized on application to the Chief Fire Official for other cultural, religious or civic events subject to specific guidelines for the event.
At certain times of the year and as conditions warrant, the Chief Fire Official may issue a complete ban on open-air burning. When a ban is issued ALL open-air burning is prohibited with the exception of actual cooking that is taking place on a grill.
Fuel burning appliances may only be used in safe areas located at grade. Appliances such as a barbecues, hibachis, chimineas, patio torches or other open flame devices are unsafe to use on balconies, roof tops or decks located above grade.
Persons violating the Ontario Fire Code may be prosecuted under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. Conviction may result in a fine up to $50,000 dollars for an individual and $100,000 for a Corporation.
In addition, persons who conduct or permit open-air burning in contravention of the policy may be subject to full cost recovery measures including the cost of fire department vehicles, equipment and staff.
Keep it Safe
Regardless of the type of open-air fire you are having, always use caution.
- NEVER use flammable liquids, such as gasoline, to start your fire.
- Remove all vegetation and other material that could spread the fire.
- Maintain close supervision of children and pets.
- Keep your fire on a non-combustible surface at least 50 feet from structures.
- Have an adequate supply of water available to extinguish or control the fire.
- Pay attention to wind conditions and potential spark hazards.
Be a Good Neighbour
Obtaining authorization to have an open-air fire does not relieve an owner from their obligation to comply with the Environmental Protection Act of Ontario. While burning, it is your obligation to ensure that smoke does not interfere with the ability of your neighbours to enjoy their properties or conduct their business without disruption. Watch where your smoke travels and do not burn when there are smog alerts, foggy conditions or wind that will carry your smoke in a direction that will disrupt adjacent roadways or properties.
Questions or Concerns
- If you have questions regarding open-air burning;
- If you wish to obtain authorization to conduct open-air burning;
- If you wish to confirm which Open-Air Burning Zone your property is located in; or
- If you have a concern about open-air burning that is being conducted in contravention of the policy.