Backyard and Community Fires

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Consultation has concluded

A group of residents interested in backyard fires recently made a presentation to Council, asking for consideration to allow residential backyard fires in the City of Waterloo. Council has asked staff to look into the feasibility of backyard fires and get a wider opinion from the general public on this topic. Recognizing that not all our residents live in properties suited for backyard fires, staff are also giving consideration to community fire spaces in approved neighbourhood parks.

A staff report (COM2021-015) with the Recreational Backyard/Community Fires Review (page 97 of the Council packet), went to Council on Monday, May 31, 2021, and council voted to approve report COM2021-015, not amend By-law 2011-124 and maintain status quo for backyard fires as outlined in the report:

"The City’s current By-law 2011-124 regulates open air fires and prohibits any open air fires, using solid fuel i.e. wood at any time on residential properties unless an application is made in writing to the Chief Fire Prevention officer 30 days in advance of the proposed open air fire using solid fuel. In alignment with the Ontario Fire Code the city’s by-law permits outdoor appliances that meet the requirements of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 to be utilized in residential areas. These are appliances fueled by propane and natural gas. The current by-law was enacted in 2011 with a strong focus on environmental concerns, respiratory health, fire and life safety, and nuisance concerns."

Engagement on this project is now closed.

A group of residents interested in backyard fires recently made a presentation to Council, asking for consideration to allow residential backyard fires in the City of Waterloo. Council has asked staff to look into the feasibility of backyard fires and get a wider opinion from the general public on this topic. Recognizing that not all our residents live in properties suited for backyard fires, staff are also giving consideration to community fire spaces in approved neighbourhood parks.

A staff report (COM2021-015) with the Recreational Backyard/Community Fires Review (page 97 of the Council packet), went to Council on Monday, May 31, 2021, and council voted to approve report COM2021-015, not amend By-law 2011-124 and maintain status quo for backyard fires as outlined in the report:

"The City’s current By-law 2011-124 regulates open air fires and prohibits any open air fires, using solid fuel i.e. wood at any time on residential properties unless an application is made in writing to the Chief Fire Prevention officer 30 days in advance of the proposed open air fire using solid fuel. In alignment with the Ontario Fire Code the city’s by-law permits outdoor appliances that meet the requirements of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 to be utilized in residential areas. These are appliances fueled by propane and natural gas. The current by-law was enacted in 2011 with a strong focus on environmental concerns, respiratory health, fire and life safety, and nuisance concerns."

Engagement on this project is now closed.

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    City staff are interested in your feedback on recreational fires: backyard fires, and community fires in park spaces. Please take a few moments to share your thoughts with our project team. The survey has two sections with similar questions to capture separate thoughts on backyard fires and community fires. If the City were to allow recreational fires, new regulations and an update to the Open Air Burning by-law (2011-124) would be required. While this survey includes questions about possible regulations, the overall question of allowing recreational fires also is still before Council/undecided.

    The survey will be open through the end of March 31, 2021.


    Consultation has concluded
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