Here’s What You Need to Know About Backyard Firepits in Mississauga

 

There's nothing quite like the calming relaxation of enjoying your backyard fire pit on a cool evening—especially as fall kicks off.

In Mississauga, fire pits are perfectly legal, provided that residents comply with bylaw 140-18 (Open Air Burning). The bylaw defines an "outdoor fire pit" as a "manufactured or non-manufactured, non-combustible, contained pit that is not fueled by natural gas or propane and is designed to hold a small fire for decorative purposes and the size of which is not larger than 1 meter in any direction."

The bylaw is quite flexible, in that you do not need a permit to operate an outdoor fire pit, outdoor fireplace, outdoor appliance or smokehouse, provided that residents comply with all of the following eight conditions: 

  1. the operation must be between sunrise and 11 pm;

  2. it is located at a distance of no less than five meters from any building, structure, property line, tree, hedge, fence, roadway, overhead wire, or another combustible article;

  3. it is located on a non-combustible surface extending beyond the unit to a dimension equal to the height of the unit;

  4. the size of the combustion area of the outdoor fireplace, outdoor appliance, outdoor fire pit or smokehouse is not larger than 1 meter (3.2 feet) in any direction;

  5. it does not create a nuisance, which means it does not create excessive smoke, smell, airborne sparks, ash, particulate matter, or embers that are likely to disturb others;

  6. a portable fire extinguisher or operable garden hose is available while the unit is in operation; and

  7. the owner or person otherwise overseeing the outdoor fireplace, outdoor appliance, outdoor fire pit, or smokehouse maintains constant watch and control over the fire from the time of the setting of the fire until the fire is totally extinguished.

Under no circumstances, with or without a permit, may any open-air burning (including fire pits) be operated when a smog alert has been issued for the forecast region of Halton-Peel, which includes the City of Mississauga. A "smog alert" is defined as an alert issued by the Ministry of Environment with respect to air quality.

There are a few things to keep in mind about the enforcement of the bylaw as well. 

In accordance with section 7.1 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, an officer may enter upon land and into structures at any reasonable time to inspect the land and structures to determine whether the by-law is being complied with. 

During an inspection, an officer may: 

  1. require the production for inspection of documents or things relevant to the inspection;

  2. inspect and remove documents or things relevant to the inspection for the purpose of making copies or extracts; 

  3. require information from any person concerning a matter related to the inspection; and

  4. alone or in conjunction with a person possessing special or expert knowledge, make examinations or take tests, samples or photographs necessary for the purposes of the inspection.

  5. order that a fire be extinguished immediately.

A person guilty of contravening the bylaw, giving false information in an application for a permit, or contravening an order by an officer to immediately extinguish a fire, is liable to a fine and penalty as pursuant to the provisions of the Provincial Offences Act.

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