Open Air Burning

Please view the Open Air Burning By-law to learn more about when, where and how you can have outdoor fires.  

When conducting any open air burning, ensure that it does not create a nuisance, the fire is constantly attended and a means of extinguishment is available while the fire is burning.

Acceptable burn material

Means commercially produced charcoal or briquettes, small amounts of white or brown paper or cardboard used to start a fire, dry seasoned wood that has been generated on the landowners own property, dry wood by-products that have not been chemically treated, painted or stained, purchased fire logs or purchased firewood sold for the purpose of recreational campfires and not exceeding the maximum permitted recreational fire dimensions defined in the by-law.

Cooking fire

Means a small, confined fire supervised at all times and used to cook food on a grill or barbeque.

Open air fire

Means any open fire other than that defined as a “Cooking Fire” or “Recreational Fire” under the By-Law.

Prohibited burn materials

Means any material other than as described under “Acceptable Burn Materials”. Specifically prohibited under the by-law and not to be burned under any circumstances include household waste, human or animal excrement, leaves, grass, treated lumber, insulation, asphalt shingles or other construction materials, commercial by-products such as those generated from wood working, deck-building or landscaping businesses, tires, rubber, plastic, styrofoam, petroleum or other potentially toxic waste materials.

Safe location

Means outdoors and not on a porch or balcony area that is roofed or otherwise covered, or near dry vegetation, or in any other place conducive to unwanted development or spread of fire or explosion, or supported by combustible material. The safe location shall be a minimum of 5 metres from any structure and a minimum of 5 metres from adjacent property lines. The property line setbacks for a safe location do not apply to campgrounds.

Cooking fires and recreational fires shall be permitted, provided, every person who sets a cooking or recreational fire shall comply with the following regulations:

  • The fire must be set in a safe location, on the landowners own property and contained within an appropriate device
  • The fire must not be on public property (ex. beach)
  • The fire must be fueled only with acceptable burn materials
  • The fire must be supervised at all times
  • Effective means of extinguishment must be readily available
  • No person shall set fires for training purposes or fire extinguisher safety demonstrations, without prior approval of the Bluewater Fire Chief.
  • No person shall burn anything defined as prohibited material.

Open fires are prohibited in all Settlement Areas designated as Village/Hamlet and Lakeshore Residential as established in the current Municipality of Bluewater Official Plan.

Open air fires in rural areas set to eliminate acceptable burn materials are permitted and every person who sets an open air fire shall comply with the following regulations:

  • contact the Fire Chief/Chief Fire Official for approval prior to starting an open air fire
  • must be confined to daylight hours
  • must be set on the landowners own property
  • must be supervised at all times
  • must be fully extinguished before being left unsupervised
  • no person shall locate, permit or allow an open fire to be located less than 15 meters from any building, structure, overhead wire or other combustible article

Open air fires for religious, civic or ceremonial purposes are allowed within settlement areas designated as Village/Hamlet and Lakeshore Residential as established in the current Municipality of Bluewater Official Plan and shall require a burn permit issued by the Fire Chief/Chief Fire Official, subject to any terms and conditions imposed by the Fire Chief/Chief Fire Official.

No person shall release floating lanterns which have an open flame.

Approval for a controlled burn can be obtained by contacting the municipal office between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Approval must be obtained before any open air fire can be lit. In order for the paperwork, and if necessary a site visit to be completed, you must call at least 90 minutes prior to lighting.

Please have the following information available when calling:

  • 911 address
  • Date and time
  • Materials being burned
  • Person responsible for the burn
  • Call back number

Please note that you must receive approval from the Chief Fire Official or designate before any controlled burns can be lit. There are a number of variables that determine whether a controlled burn will be approved including wind speed, fog, rain, heat and smog advisories.

Be aware that for the duration of the approved open air burn the Fire Department may not respond to a call at the address unless that call originates from the person who applied for the open air fire.

If a complaint has been received and it has been determined that the fire does not meet the guidelines set out above, or if you have not notified the fire department of a planned burn, you will be asked to extinguish the fire. You may also incur a fee if the fire department is required to extinguish the fire or respond to a complaint where the guidelines have not been met.

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