Kingston Bylaws – Open-Air Burning

Open-Air Burning Rules, City of KingstonWith the summer slowly drifting away in the rear view mirror, I’m getting somewhat nostalgic for all the flavours of the fading season. I hope you can relate to my love for a blackened marshmallow now and again, or a juicy tofurkey dog perfectly licked by the flames of a roaring campfire. While my fun-filled trip to Bon Echo this past July checked the boxes of both of these summer treats, one taste is never enough.

Time and again I have wondered whether or not our household should purchase of some sort of backyard campfire contraption, so that we can enjoy flame roasted treats whenever we get the urge. To date, I’ve held off on acquiring a hibachi or chiminea as I was unsure of the City’s bylaw regarding their use. I also wondered whether or not there were distinctions between fires associated with cooking, and those that are just for the heck of it. What specifications must fire pits abide by, and are certain areas of the city governed by different regulations? These are the questions at the burning edge of this episode of our bylaw series.

After contacting the City of Kingston Bylaw Office, I was advised that this topic is not covered by a bylaw, rather if falls under the jurisdiction of Kingston Fire and Rescue as it pertains to the Ontario Fire Code.  I followed up with Kingston Fire and Rescue, who redirected me to a corner of the City of Kingston’s website that’s dedicated to the rules governing open-air burning in the Limestone City.

For starters, open-air burning is defined as:

any fire set outside, other than on a small confined grill, while being used to cook food. Campfires, incinerators, burn drums and construction site fires are examples of open-air burning.

In Kingston, you are permitted to conduct open air burning if you live in what is defined as “the north zone”. In other words, not downtown. Thankfully, hibachis, chimineas and masonry barbecues are exempt if you’re using them for cooking purposes, and take steps to cover the chimney with a protective grate. Of course there are also common sense considerations such as respecting neighbours who have open windows or clean clothes hanging on the line. Further, the City of Kingston offers up some useful tips to help keep your backyard marshmallow roast safe for all:

  • NEVER use flammable liquids, such as gasoline, to start your fire.
  • Remove all vegetation and other material that could spread the fire.
  • Maintain close supervision of children and pets.
  • Keep your fire on a non-combustible surface at least 50 feet from structures.
  • Have an adequate supply of water available to extinguish or control the fire.
  • Pay attention to wind conditions and potential spark hazards.

Thanks to pwinn for the photo of a beautiful (yet illegal where I live) backyard fire pit.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

One thought on “Kingston Bylaws – Open-Air Burning

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!