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Home > Municipal Guide > Emergency Services > Fire > Open Air Burning

Open Air Burning - Information for Residents of Central Huron

Open Air Burning:
Reference to open air burning can be found in the Municipality of Central Huron By-Law No. 25-2009  for, a by-law to regulate open air fires.

The Ontario Fire Code
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.  This pamphlet describes the policy by which limited open air burning may be Permitted.

Open Air Burning
Open Air Burning is any fire set outside, other than on a small contained grill, while being used to cook food.  Campfires, incinerators, burn drums, brush piles, construction site fires, etc. are examples of open air burning.

Certain small devices may be used out doors in all areas of the municipality without prior authorization.

  •  Hibachis, chimneas and masonry barbecues, provide the fuel and chimney are covered by a protective grate;
  •  Liquid or gas fuelled appliances;

Do We Need A Burning By-law?
No!  The Fire Code already prohibits this activity.  A By-law however permits residents to conduct burns in a safe and responsible manner.

Over the last three years, the Clinton Fire Station has responded to 19 incidents created by unauthorized burning.

In four of those cases, other property damage resulted from these unauthorized burns and in one case a person was severely burned in an attempt to extinguish a run away trash fire.

These statistics only take into account the responses by the Clinton Fire Station and do not include similar events Attended to by the Bayfield, Blyth, Goderich and Seaforth Fire Stations which cover portions of Central Huron.

The question is, “Why should responsible taxpayers pay for; and why should volunteer firefighters be put at risk:  while responding to events caused by a few irresponsible people”?

What you will need to have a for approval of A controlled burn.
When applying for Approval you will be required to supply the following information:
Property owner/occupant name and the 911 address of the property.
A call back phone number at the address.
The start and finish times for the burn.

Burning Bans
At certain times of the year and as conditions warrant, the Chief Fire Official may issue a complete burning ban on open air burning.  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 barbeques, hibachis, chimneas and patio torches 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 $1000,000 dollars for a Corporation.

In addition persons who conduct or permit open air burning in contravention of this policy may be subject to full cost recovery measures including the cost of fire department vehicles, equipment and staff.


Be aware that for the duration of an approved open air burn, the Fire Department may NOT respond to a call to that address UNLESS that call originates from the person who applied for the approval for the open air burn.

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.
  • Keep your fire on a non-combustible surface at least 10 meters from structures.
  • Maintain close supervision of children and pets.
  • Have an adequate water supply (or other means) 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 smile 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.

If you have questions regarding open air burning or if you wish to obtain authorization to conduct open air burning or if you have a concern about open air burning that is being conducted in contravention of this policy please contact us.

Central Huron Fire Area
Steve Cooke
Office 519-482-3043
Cell 519-525-6530
For Bayfield, Goderich and Seaforth
Coverage areas contact Central
Fire Dept.

Central Huron • 519-482-3997 • Contact Us