General News

Watch fire danger ratings to know when and where to burn

April 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

With the summer approaching and warmer weather drying out fields and wooded areas, the risk of fire can increase.

You should be aware of the fire danger rating in your area and adhere to restrictions on outdoor fires when they apply.

The fire danger rating for New Tecumseth is currently listed as ‘moderate’ with no current restrictions.

When it comes to outdoor fires, municipal fire bans are imposed by local municipalities. Inside a fire region, both a municipal fire ban and a ministry Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) can be in place on the same piece of land simultaneously.

If an RFZ or a municipal ban is lifted, the other ban could remain in place and continue to restrict the use of outdoor fire. It is important to check with your local municipality or fire department for any municipal fire bans or restrictions on burning in your area.

There are some exceptions to an RFZ. If strict criteria are met, campfires and charcoal barbecues may be allowed in organized campgrounds or provincial parks.

There are two reasons why an RFZ is in effect. This includes when outdoor conditions are extremely dry or when the number of fires occurring has stretched firefighting resources to capacity.

When an RFZ is in effect, you cannot have campfires, even in outdoor fired grates, fireplaces, or fire pits, burn grass or woody debris, or use burn barrels.

If you need heat for cooking or warmth in an RFZ, you can only use a portable liquid fuel or gas stove, for example, a barbecue, that can be turned off easily by closing a shut-off valve or lid. It must be at least one metre from any flammable material.

You should exercise extreme caution when travelling in an RFZ. This includes being careful with anything that could start a fire, ensuring all matches or cigarettes are out before disposing of them, and smoking only when stationary – never smoke while walking or working in the bush.

Once a Restricted Fire Zone is declared, it is illegal to set a fire for any purpose within the affected area unless specific conditions have been met.

Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $25,000, three months in jail, and financial responsibility for any costs incurred in fighting a forest fire.

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