Well, it’s pretty much official; the 2012 cottage season has begun!
The recent Victoria Day long weekend marked the start of what promises to be a hot, dry summer. All the better for boating and hanging out on the dock.
But the lack of rain can be a curse as much as a blessing, and brings concern to Cottage Country Fire Departments throughout Ontario.
Muskoka’s fire danger rating has just been escalated to ‘Extreme’, meaning that an all-out fire ban is in effect. This means that NO fires of any type are permitted, including fires for cooking or warmth, and NO fireworks allowed.
Cottagers are reminded that the Muskoka Fire Season runs from April 1st to October 31st each year. The rating is verified daily and updated whenever the rating changes.
Even when the rating and danger level are reduced, Municipal By-laws remain in place to limit the type and size of fires permitted. For example, the Bracebridge Open Air (Outdoor) Burning By-law is as follows:
Must not be larger than 2 metres (6.5 ft) in diamater or height.
Must not be closer than 2 metres (6.5 ft) to flammable materials.
Must not be closer than 5 metres (16.5 ft) to any forest, woodlot or structure.
Setting or permitting a fire of any type during periods of dry conditions, drought or high winds or when prohibition agains open burning has been declared by the Chief Fire Official or his designate is stricgly prohibited.
Setting or permitting a fire to burn that causes (through sparks, smoke or unpleasant odour) discomfort, irritation, nuisance or danger to any person residing in the general area of the fire is strictly prohibited.
Campfires for cooking or warmth purposes are permitted throughout the year in all four fire zones at any time of the day or night. Under no circumstances may camp fires be used as a method of burning yard waste (leaves, pine needles, grass or green wood).
Campfires must be fuelled by dry wood only and must be supervised at all times.
There must be an adequate supply of both tools and water for all campfires.
The tools and water must not be removed until such time as the fire has been completely extinguished.
Campfires for warmth and cooking are NOT PERMITTED WHEN A FIRE BAN HAS BEEN DECLARED.
SLASH PILE FIRES:
A slash pile involves the burning of natural materials such as brush, trees, yard waste and vegetation (other than grass) including leaves.
Slash pile fires are only permitted in fire zones 2, 3 and 4 (rural areas) between the period of November 1st and March 31st only.
No slash piles are permitted between the period of April 1st to October 31st.
As with campfires, slash pile fires must be supervised at all times and there must be an immediate accessible and adequate supply of tools and water available to extinguish the fire if necessary.
The information above is only a summary of the Open Air Burning By-law. The full text of the By-law is available at the Town of Bracebridge website, By-law 2008-039 or you can obtain more information by contacting Bracebridge Municipal Law Enforcement Department at 705-645-5264.