As with many areas across the province, the risk of wildfires is always present on Amherst Island, particularly during dry periods or high winds. To mitigate the risk of fires, Loyalist Township has implemented a fire burn ban system that regulates open air burning and campfires in certain areas. As part of Loyalist Township, Amherst Island and its residents are subject to the Open Air Burning Bylaw and the rules and regulations set out in it.
The fire burn ban system in Loyalist Township consists of three effective statuses: No Ban, Partial Ban, and Total Fire Ban. Each status is determined by a number of factors including weather conditions, fire risk assessment, and current fire activity. Let’s take a closer look at each of these statuses.
The No Ban status means that open air burning and campfires are allowed within designated areas in the township based on the regulations set out in the Open Air Burning Bylaw. However, residents are still required to exercise caution when using fire, particularly during dry or windy periods, and to obtain a burn permit if required. Burn permits are available free of charge at the township office or online. No fire in Loyalist Township is allowed to burn unsupervised at any time.
The Partial Ban status means that open air burning is limited to campfires and outdoor fireplaces and cooking devices, but only under specific conditions. For example, in certain areas of the township special spark inhibitors are required on campfire and cooking fires. The restrictions are put in place to reduce the risk of fires spreading and to ensure that residents can still enjoy the outdoors safely.
The Total Fire Ban status is the most restrictive and means that all open air burning and campfires are prohibited in the township. This status is typically only implemented during periods of high fire risk, such as during droughts or when there are high winds. During a Total Fire Ban, all open air burning, including campfires and cooking fires, are strictly prohibited. Violating the ban can result in fines and penalties.
Outside and in addition to the fire ban statuses is a permit process for fires in Loyalist Township, this includes brush fires and agricultural fires which have specific definitions in the bylaw related to material being burned and size of the burn pile. All such fires require a permit and none of them is permissible during a partial or total burn ban, or during any of the conditions that restrict burning in the township (such as winds in excess of 30kmh).
Floating and flying fires (such as celebratory floating lanterns) are prohibited at all times regardless of the burn ban status.
The fire burn ban statuses and permit process in Loyalist Township are designed to help protect residents and the environment from the dangers of wildfires. It’s important for residents and visitors to familiarize themselves with the current status and to follow any restrictions or bans that are in place. By doing so, we can all help to prevent fires and ensure that the beautiful natural areas of Amherst Island remain safe for generations to come.
You can find the current fire ban status on the Loyalist Township website here: https://www.loyalist.ca/en/living-in-loyalist/open-air-burning-and-wildland-fires.aspx
Applications for open air burn permits can be made here (permits are free of charge): https://loyalistfire.burnpermits.com/login
NOTE: Township by-laws change from time to time and this article is considered current as of the time it was posted. Please ensure your compliance with the by-law by referencing it directly through the link above.