Town reminds residents of new rules restricting open-air fires

July 6, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The Town of Orangeville is keen to remind local residents of the recent changes to its bylaw regulating open-air burning, which prohibits residents from having outdoor fires on their properties without a valid burn permit.

In a release distributed to media last week, the Town explained that the new bylaw, which was voted in late last year by Council, is designed to properly control backyard fires in town, while also recognizing the sensitivity some residents have to smoke caused by outdoor wood fires.

“The rules exist to accommodate those who may have an increased sensitivity to smoke and smells in the air,” the release stated. “The bylaw is intended to promote public health and safety, and does not apply to grilling appliances such as propane, charcoal or wood pellet barbecues.”

The issue was heavily debated last year when Coun. Sylvia Bradley, speaking on behalf of the council’s Outdoor Burning Committee, argued that the new bylaw was more of a “clean air initiative” rather than a ban on backyard burning.

“People have the right to clean air and smoke does not recognize property lines,” Coun. Bradley told the Citizen. “We have a responsibility as a society to ensure people can breathe and to protect our environment.”

Residents wanting to have an outdoor fire must apply for a burn permit, issued by the Orangeville Fire Department on an annual basis. The application process includes a home inspection to ensure the resident has working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and a survey to check the suitability of the proposed fire location. Applications for burn permits must be made at least 48 hours ahead of the first planned fire.

Requests for burn permits can be denied for properties located close to what the municipality defines as “standing sensitive receptors”, such as seniors’ residences, long-term care facilities or health care facilities. Under the new bylaw, anyone can apply to be placed on the Sensitive Receptor Registry, although they must reapply annually. Open air burning will not be permitted within 75 metres of a standing sensitive receptor, or within 45 metres of a voluntary sensitive receptor registrant’s property line.

In general, open air fires must be at least three metres from any potential hazards, including buildings, property lines, vegetation and an overhead wires.

To learn more about the bylaw, visit /burn-permits.

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