Kingston introduces new permit system for open-air fires

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KINGSTON — City residents planning to have an open-air fire will have to apply for a permit from the city.

City council approved the new permitting system in mid-April and it went into effect immediately.

The permits, which are free of charge, are required for fires in outdoor appliances, such as fire pits and fire bowls, outdoor fireplaces, campfires and agricultural and brush fires.

The new permit system was established in response to what the city described as a “substantial increase in fire responses and complaints concerning open-air fires.”

Permits can be obtained at the city’s website.

“If you’re going to have an open-air fire, we want to ensure it’s done safely,” Kingston Fire and Rescue fire prevention officer Ted Posadowski said in a news release.

“This bylaw will ensure transparency, consistency and improve safety by reducing risks associated with open-air fires.”

The rules around open-air fires are different for the urban and suburban parts of the city and the rural areas, and what types of fires that are permitted depends, in part, on where in the city it is going to be lit.

“Our primary focus over the coming months will be on educating and informing residents to ensure they are compliant with the new bylaw.”


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Appliances that have mechanical fuel shut-offs are exempt from the permit requirement, and those include propane or natural gas appliances, and grilling or cooking fires using smokers, barbecues, masonry barbecues, charcoal appliances, hibachis and contained pizza ovens.

For all other fires, there are seven different open-air fire permit types available, including agricultural, brush, outdoor appliance, outdoor fireplace, campfire, campground fire and special event.

The fire bylaw continues to prohibit fires in drums, barrels, oil tanks, gas tanks and wheel rims, and there is a long list of items that cannot be burned, including rubber, plastic, plastic foam products, petroleum products and rubbish.

The fire department or bylaw officers can order a fire to be extinguished if it is considered a “nuisance fire” and disturbs others with smoke, sparks or embers, or reduces visibility or creates dangerous conditions.

Fire bans, whether partial or full, will continue to be place in areas of the city if environmental conditions warrant.

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