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Open air fire permit

Open air fires

Open air fires are permitted with a burn permit

What is a fire ban?

A fire ban is declared by the Fire Chief or his designate and is based largely on environmental conditions. It is a period of time where no one may set or maintain any open air fire anywhere within the city limits. This is to ensure public safety and protection of property.

Eligibility requirements for an open air fire permit

A permit is required in order to light a fire on private property; this includes having a backyard fire or using a large fire pit.

Population density and average lot size criteria were considered in the determination of the areas in which open air fires are permitted.

Locate your property (area/location) on the burn zone schedule to confirm if you are able to obtain an open air fire permit or have an outdoor fireplace and campfire.

Types of open air permits

The information contained in this section has been prepared for reference purposes only. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information; however, it is not to be used in place of actual by-laws. Please refer to the Open Air Fire By-law, or the information on your permit for specific conditions.

Annual open air fire permit

An annual open air fire permit allows the permit holder to:

  • have a campfire (less than 60cm in width by 50cm in height) or an outdoor fireplace 
  • burn larger piles of untreated wood, tree limbs and branches. These larger fires can only be burned during daylight hours and can be up to 3 metres in length, width, and height.

Specific clearances from buildings, hedges, fences, overhead wiring or highways are detailed on the permit and in the Open Air Fire By-Law.

Annual restricted open air fire permit

In some areas of the city, mostly in rural villages, there are additional restrictions applied to open air fire permits. An annual restricted open air fire permit allows the permit holder to:

  • have a campfire (less than 60cm in width by 50cm in height) or an outdoor fireplace 
  • burn larger piles of untreated wood, tree limbs and branches during the winter months, between December 1 and March 31 of the following year. These larger fires can only be burned during daylight hours and can be up to 3 metres in length, width, and height.

Specific clearances from buildings, hedges, fences, overhead wiring or highways are detailed on the permit and in the Open Air Fire By-Law.

Annual agricultural open air fire permit

An annual agricultural open air fire permit is available to operators of a farm business and can include up to 4 properties under one permit (farm business registration number is required). An annual agricultural permit allows the permit holder to:

  • have a campfire (less than 60cm in width by 50cm in height) or an outdoor fireplace
  • burn larger piles of untreated wood, tree limbs and branches. These larger fires can only be burned during daylight hours and can be up to 3 metres in length, width, and height.
  • burn windrows as part of normal farm practices for clearing agricultural land. Windrow material to be burned cannot exceed 50 m in length, 5 m in width and 3 m in height and must consist solely of wood, tree limbs and branches.

Specific clearances from buildings, hedges, fences, overhead wiring or highways are detailed on the permit and in the Open Air Fire By-Law.

Specific event open air fire permit

Allows a not-for-profit community organization or a religious institution to conduct campfires for cultural, religious or recreational specific events that are normally not allowed in designated no burn areas of the city.

Open air fire permit (burn permit)

Renew or apply for an open air fire permit (burn permit).

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Annual agricultural burn permit (open air fire permit)

Renew or apply for an agricultural open air fire permit (burn permit).

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Specific event open air fire permit

A specific event open air fire permit allows a not-for-profit community organization or a religious institution to conduct campfires for cultural, religious or recreational specific events that are normally not allowed in designated no burn areas of the city.

Apply for a specific event open air fire permit.

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What you need to know about open air fire permits

Open air fires are prohibited in some areas

Ottawa Fire Services does not approve of open air burning in urban areas or near buildings. The use of an outdoor fireplace (either masonry or metal) is considered open air burning. Although these fireplaces are designed to be used outdoors and may limit the heat and sparks through their design, these reduced levels are still cause for concern. Outdoor fireplaces are not permitted in urban areas.

Devices that do not require a permit

  • Outdoor natural gas, propane or ethanol fireplaces.
  • Approved cooking appliances include gas, charcoal or propane BBQ/hibachis or gas or propane outdoor fireplace [must be ULC approved]. Note: the device must be designed and intended solely for the cooking of food in the open air. It must not be used to burn wood, tree limbs, branches and/or non-compostable material.

General information

  • (Active) Permit number: Your permit number can be found on your “open air fire permit summary” in MyServiceOttawa.
  • Activation of permit: Please allow 24 hours for your information to be entered into the OFS communications centre system.
  • Payment: You can pay for your permit online. After reviewing the Terms and Conditions of your permit (and selecting I Agree), you will automatically be directed to the payment page. After payment is completed successfully, you will receive an email.
  • Print or save your permit: After payment, you can print and/or save your permit if you choose by selecting the view/renew permit button and then clicking the print button. Please note: your new open air fire permit will not be mailed or emailed to you. You can access your permit online anytime and choose to print it on MyServiceOttawa
  • Effective period of permit:
    • Annual, annual restricted and annual agricultural permits are valid from the date of issue until the end of the calendar year (December 31).
    • Specific event permits are valid for the date(s) specified on the permit.
    • Note: Starting December 1, permits can be purchased for the upcoming year.
  • Permit renewal: Renewal forms are sent to all homeowners who had a permit the previous year.

Before starting an open air fire

  1. Wait 24 hours after the purchase of a new permit to allow the permit to be updated in the OFS communications centre system before starting an open air fire
  2. Be aware of your permit number in order to report your open air fire to Ottawa Fire Services (OFS)
  3. Be able to produce your permit upon request, as stipulated by the by-law
  4. Contact Ottawa Fire Services at 613-580-2880 to ensure that a fire ban is not in effect.
    1. For campfires and outdoor fireplaces, you will be asked to follow the conditions and regulations within your permit.
    2. For burning wood in any other form, such as brush piles, you will be asked to report the open air fire as well as the permit number. You will then be provided with a reference number. This helps reduce the number of false alarms, such as unexpected responses to your home by Ottawa Fire Services.

Outdoor fire safety

Fire safety is not only a concern inside the home but it is also important outdoors. Learn tips that can be taken to prevent open air fires.

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