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Changes to Outdoor Burning By-law for Lake of Bays and Huntsville starting this spring
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Changes to Outdoor Burning By-law for Lake of Bays and Huntsville starting this spring

Posted: 2024-02-20 06:54:47 By: thebay

Lake of Bays Council approved the recommended changes to the Outdoor Burning By-law, in the February 13, 2024, meeting.

Fire Chief, Gary Monahan, advised that the Fire Department met with the By-law departments for both Lake of Bays and Huntsville in 2023. He said, “We discovered that both By-laws, for both Huntsville and Lake of Bays, required some immediate attention. So that was one of our first priorities, was to get the Outdoor Burning By-laws together, basically identical, so that crews were going out and they were talking the same language.”

He explained that although there were some minor changes to definitions in the update, the primary changes are for the Open Air Burning Restriction and Open Air Burning Devices. He said, “Restriction times was changed a lot for us.”

In the past, times for Open Air Burning Restrictions took effect from April 1st until October 31st each year. Now the restriction will be placed and removed based on local conditions and climate patterns, indicated Monahan.

Open Air Burning Devices is the second primary change. Monahan advised staff are seeing a big change in this area, with an increase in devices, such as pizza ovens, fire pits, pellet stoves, and lanterns.

In his report, Monahan outlined changes to Open Air Bruning Devices as follows:

“No person shall use any Open Air Burning Device during a Fire Ban unless all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The device is designed to use electricity or a commercially produced fuel;
  2. The flame in the device can be extinguished by closing a time control valve or by eliminating the power source;
  3. The device is at least 1m from any flammable material.”

The Fire Chief or a designate have the authority to give permission for alternate use under special circumstances.

Councillor, Robert Lacroix, agreed with the changes. He said, “The weather has changed, and we need to expand the end date and the beginning dates for fires.”

He also expressed the importance of getting the word out to the public.

Monahan advised that communication is going out before the fire season starts this year, at the beginning of April, “so the message will get out.”

Councillor, Nancy Tapley, inquired about whether there can be flexibility regarding the fire size allowed, especially for people that have a lot of material to burn. She suggested that one large fire is safer than multiple small fires.

Monahan reiterated that he could provide permission for a larger fire, however, a site visit would be mandatory to ensure proper equipment is available. He said this is common in situations such as with developers clearing lots, needing a fire larger than 6x6 feet.

Mayor, Terry Glover, spoke on behalf of people that have had “blow downs” and whether there is help for them to remove the debris in these types of situations.

Monahan agreed that storms can cause a lot of devastation. He suggested that other options can include woodchippers, or the District may have an option for collection, or it can be dropped off to landfill sites. He said that staff would have to consider it further.

In response to complaints heard by Council about no daytime burning, Monohan emphasized the importance of following restrictions, such as burning after 6pm until 8am only. He said, “We’re in a changing world right now and the reason we don’t allow burning during the day is because of the high wind and the low humidity.”