Open air burning in Norfolk County is responsible for the loss of houses, barns, outbuildings, and several acres of field and wildland every year, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency response and damages. Norfolk County’s Bylaw To Regulate The Setting of Fires 2016-72 is designed to prevent purposeful fires from becoming out of control and causing harm to property and landscape. Due to the vast diversity of land use in our County the bylaw is divided into permitted fires based on land use and fire intent. The following represents an overview only – you must read the complete bylaw before starting any fires in Norfolk County.
DOWNLOAD COMPLETE BURN BYLAW 2016-72
A recreational fire does not require a permit and is allowed provided that the fire meets all of the following provisions:
- That the fire is for the provision of warmth or recreation: the fire must not be used to burn waste: only clean, dry wood or charcoal may be burned.
- The fire is limited in size to 66cm (26 inches) in any direction and is 4 metres (13 feet) from any combustible building material, or partition, exterior window opening, overhead wire, exit access or exit, unless authorized by the Fire Chief or designate, or By-Law 2016-72.
- The fire shall only be conducted between the hours of sunrise and 12:00 am and must be attended at all times by a responsible adult with competent means of extinguishment readily available.
A burn permit is required if you want to burn leaves, tree clippings or other similar materials as outlined in schedule A of this bylaw. A burn permit issued under this section shall require compliance with all applicable provisions of this bylaw and any additional restrictions deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.
- The size of any pile of materials to be burned cannot exceed 9 square metres (96.84 square feet) in area and 2 metres (78.75 inches) in height unless specifically approved under application of a burn safety plan.
- Fires shall be located at least 30 metres (98.43 feet) away from any building, combustible structure, combustible vegetation, accumulation of combustible materials, or as measured on the ground horizontally from any overhead wires carrying electricity and property lines. In any case, longer distances may be required if, in the opinion of a municipal law enforcement officer, the material burned will emit sparks and embers in a manner that could create a fire hazard.
- If the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board deems that specific provisions of this By-Law interfere with what it considers “normal farm practices” for a farming operation, such provisions will be deemed to be ultra-vires.
- Materials to be burned must not exceed 53 square metres (570 square feet) in area and 2 metres (6.5 feet) in height without an approved burn safety plan, and with the safety plan, the materials to be burned shall not exceed 200 square metres (2153 square feet) in area and 5 metres (16.4 feet) in height.
- More than one fire is permitted at the same time provided that an approved burn safety plan is completed.
- Fires shall be located at least 30 metres (98.43 feet) away from any building, combustible structure, combustible vegetation, accumulation of combustible materials, property lines or as measured on the ground horizontally from any overhead wires carrying electricity. In any case, longer distances may be required if, in the opinion of a municipal law enforcement officer, the material burned will emit sparks and embers in a manner that could create a fire hazard.
- Clearance from structures, abutting land/crops may be reduced if the size of the fire is also reduced or an approved burn safety plan is completed.
- Fires may be allowed to continue to burn through the night provided that an approved burn safety plan is completed and that at one hour before sunset each day, no more material is added to the fire. The fire must be controlled in such a way that the flames, smoke and embers will not pose a risk to or have an adverse effect on neighbouring
properties before it is left unattended.
- In all cases, materials being burned are restricted to those listed in Schedule A of this By-Law unless written permission is granted from the appropriate authority having jurisdiction.
- Open air fires are not permitted when gusting or sustained wind speeds exceed 30 kilometers per hour (18.64 miles per hour) unless approved by the Fire Chief or designate.
ALL FIRES IN NORFOLK COUNTY MUST BE ATTENDED BY A RESPONSIBLE PERSON (18+) AT ALL TIMES AND HAVE MEANS OF EXTINGUISHMENT AVAILABLE.
Burn permits for non-recreational burning are available at Service Norfolk’s One Window at 185 Robinson Street (Administration Building) in Simcoe. Permits are good for 2 years from the date of issue. Permits must be with the person conducting the burn at all times.