Open air fire ban now in effect for City of Ottawa

Ottawa Fire Services announced today that the annual spring ban on open air fires is now in effect until further notice. The ban will remain in place until spring progresses enough that the green grass begins to overtake the tall dead grass, as the risks of uncontrollable burns will be significantly reduced.

Every winter, grass and leaves die underneath the piles of snow, and even if the ground seems wet in some areas, the dry grass and leaves create the perfect condition for fast-spreading fires when combined with other dry materials, such as branches, as well as the addition of environmental changes like high winds, prolonged dry spells, early spring surface conditions, cut fields or wet conditions that prevent firefighting equipment from accessing remote and rural locations. 

From the Ottawa Fire Service:

All open air fires are prohibited during a fire ban, including for those properties that have an Open Air Fire Permit. This ban applies to agricultural burns, brush pile burns, as well as campfires. There will be zero tolerance enforcement during the fire ban.
We thank area residents for their patience and cooperation with this matter.

How can you reduce the risks around your home?

During this time of year, you can help reduce the risks close by when you take advantage of weekly yard waste collection. The Ottawa Fire Service offers these additional tips to prevent grass and brush fires in your area:

  • Clear all combustible materials such as tree limbs, leaves and other dry materials away from buildings and propane tanks.
  • Keep barbecue propane tanks at least three metres from buildings.
  • Wood piles should be stored a safe distance from your home.
  • Trees should be pruned to create a good vertical separation from the ground.
  • Clear out any accumulated dry or dead debris from your property.

Cigarette butts a major concern

Every year, cigarettes that are not fully extinguished contribute to the grass fires during burn bans. If you are a smoker, please use caution when disposing of your cigarettes. Cigarettes (lit or not) shouldn't be thrown out of car windows.

More information about open air fires in the City of Ottawa

Please follow our office on Facebook and Twitter to get regular updates. We'll announce there when the ban has been lifted. 

If you are interested in obtaining a burn permit, you can get more information at Ottawa.ca or visit the North Gower Client Service Centre (or any client service centre) on Thursdays.

Read more about the open air fire by-law here.

IMPORTANT: City-wide burn ban now in effect

Ottawa Fire Services has issued a city-wide burn ban. It is effective immediately to prevent the rapid spread of fire due to grass and brush fires. This ban will remain in place until conditions improve and the green grass starts to show through dead tall grass.

All open air fires are prohibited during a fire ban even for those properties that have a burn permit.

There will be zero tolerance enforcement during the open air burning ban.

Debris from winter (fallen tree branches, leaves, etc.) increases the risk of fire spread, so this is a preventative measure to keep people and property safe.

Reduce your risk around the home

Ottawa Fire Services encourages residents to take advantage of weekly yard waste collection and use the following tips to prevent grass and brush fires:

  • Clear all combustible materials such as tree limbs, leaves and other dry materials away from buildings and propane tanks
  • Keep BBQ propane tanks at least 3 m from buildings.
  • Wood piles should stored a safe distance from the home
  • Trees should be pruned to create a good vertical separation from the ground
  • Have a working garden hose and water supply to promptly extinguish any grass fires
  • Clear out any accumulated dry/dead debris from property

For additional tips on disposing yard waste, visit Ottawa.ca.

Cigarettes an ongoing cause of grass fires

Carelessly discarded cigarettes continue to be a major cause of grass fires during these dry periods. Smokers are reminded to please use care when butting out. Do not throw lit cigarettes out vehicle windows. Be sure that cigarettes are completely out and discard in an appropriate waste recepacle.

Permits

During the burn ban, no burning is allowed - even with a permit. Residents are reminded that they must first obtain a fire permit before they have a fire in the open air. Permit holders are then required to call 613-580-2880 prior to burning to ensure there is not a burn ban in effect. Substantial fines may be issued to residents who are not in possession of a valid fire permit or are found to be non-compliant to conditions and regulations within their permit

Fire Permits are available at all Client Service Centres and Ottawa Fire Services Rural Administration Offices. A list of these sites , hours of operation and more information on fire permits can be found on Ottawa.ca/fire or by calling 3-1-1 (613-580-2400).

The annual spring burn ban is now in effect...here are the details:

The aftermath of a brush fire. Source: Morguefile

UPDATE: The burn ban has been lifted as of April 30, 2013.

Every spring Ottawa Fire Services issues a city-wide burn ban to prevent grass and brush fires that can spread very quickly after the snow melts and before we start to see green again. 

The ban will remain in place as long as conditions remain dry. This winter left us with more debris on the ground, such as fallen tree branches, leaves, etc., which has created an increased risk.

IMPORTANT: All open air fires are prohibited during a fire ban, even if you have a burn permit for your property. For the safety and protection of all City of Ottawa residents, there is zero tolerance enforcement during the ban. 

How can you reduce risk of fire on your property?

It's spring cleanup time for everyone! Here are some things you can do to help prevent fires from starting near your home and other property.

  • Clear all combustible materials such as tree limbs, leaves and other dry materials away from buildings and propane tanks
  • Keep BBQ propane tanks at least 3 m from buildings.
  • Wood piles should stored a safe distance from the home
  • Trees should be pruned to create a good vertical separation from the ground
  • Clear out any accumulated dry/dead debris from property

Cigarettes

Carelessly discarded cigarettes continue to be a major cause of grass fires during these dry periods. Smokers are reminded to please use care when butting out. Do not throw lit cigarettes out vehicle windows.

Waste disposal

  • Place all yard waste for pickup in compostable paper bags, garbage cans or cardboard boxes
  • Ensure containers and bundles weigh no more than 15 kg (33 lbs)
  • Place any extra leaf and yard waste in the green bin
  • Tie all branches in bundles of less than 1.2 m (4 ft) in length and 60 cm (2 ft) in width
  • Individual branches should be less than 10 cm (4 in) in diameter
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn
  • Leaf and yard waste will not be collected as regular garbage
  • more information on yard waste disposal visit ottawa.ca

In the event that you see a fire happening, stay away from the area and call 9-1-1 to report it.

Watch our site to get updates about when the burn ban is lifted.