Changing The Rules For Open Air Burning

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / PinkBadger

In an effort to satisfy complaints and save money for the Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services, the open air burn bylaw has been changed.

The new bylaw had been approved by council earlier this week, but fire officials say everything will remain “status quo” until further notice. That means the new fees aren’t applicable yet.

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Davidson says the goal with this new bylaw was to create a balance by allowing residents to burn while also maintaining public safety.

“Basically, we’re allowing for a greater amount of burning but we also have restrictions to how the burning occurs,” says Davidson.

He says they’re hoping this new bylaw will save them money by reducing the number of responses from fire stations to open air fires.

“A response from a full fire station of volunteer firefighters can be very costly,” says Davidson. “In addition, it takes those firefighters away from their primary location.”

Davidson says there’s a lot of significant changes from this new bylaw to the previous one.

“The actual bylaw promotes tourism by allowing such fires as camp fires, and recreation fires, fires in pits and that kind of thing,” says Davidson. “We’ve included more exclusions in the bylaw and we’re also introducing some unique enforcement options.”

Davidson adds there are also elements to the bylaw that cater to the rural farming community.

“The farming community is now allowed to burn a larger fire, provided that they provide a approved burn safety plan,” says Davidson.

Since the bylaw has only recently been approved by council, a cost of the new burn permit has not been decided upon.

To view the bylaw documents brought to Monday night’s council click here.