Kingston Fire and Rescue issues zero-tolerance warning for illegal burning

Following a recent spike in calls, Kingston Fire and Rescue (KFR) has instituted a zero-tolerance policy for open-air burning conducted outside of permitted guidelines.

“Keeping residents safe is our number one priority,” said Ted Posadowski, Chief Fire Prevention Officer with KFR on the illegal burning.

Kingston Fire & Rescue responding to one of the recent grass fire calls. KFR has seen a dramatic spike in open-air burning calls since May 7, 2020. Photo by Josie Vallier

KFR lifted the open-air burn ban on Thursday, May 7, 2020, and has received 45 complaints since then, with the most common complaints being for burning of yard or construction waste or the use of non-approved appliances.

The city has created two zones to allow for additional burning in the more rural part of the community, with residents in the ‘North Zone’ being able to request authorization for small, open-air fire from KFR. The department says that the uptick of complaints includes calls for burns in the North Zone without authorization.

“Open-air burning that fails to comply with [Kingston] guidelines is in contravention of the Ontario Fire Code and will not be tolerated,” noted KFR in a statement, adding that individuals could face fines of up to $50,000 for a first offence.

“There are much safer alternatives to consider that won’t put you, your family, and your neighbours at risk,” added Posadowski.

“Residents can drop yard waste off for free at 196 Lappan’s Lane on their waste collection day,” the statement from KFR added.

To learn more about the city’s open-air burning guidelines, the two burning zones, and how addresses in the North Zone can receive burning authorizations, visit the City of Kingston website.

Kingston is divided in two zones for better burn control regulations. Graphic from the City of Kingston Open Air Burning guidelines website.

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