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Burn By-law and Permits

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The City of Kawartha Lakes has a by-law to regulate times open air burning, the precautions to be observed by persons setting fires and for the setting of fees for fire permits.

TYPE OF PERMIT                                                                                                         FEE

Regular Burn Permit (up to 1 cubic metre)                                                           $10.00

Special Burn Permit                                                                                                   $20.00

Agricultural Burn Permit (Annual)                                                                            $20.00

Annual Regular Burn Permit (Up to 1 cubic metre)                                             $50.00

*New Long Term Special Burn Permit                                                                   $40.00

*New Agricultural Special Burn Permit (Larger than 3 metres by 3 metres)  $40.00

General Provisions

  • You cannot leave your fire unattended or unsupervised until it is fully extinguished.
  • You must have sufficient equipment readily available to control, contain and extinguish your fire.

You cannot set any fire under any of the following conditions:

  • Under weather conditions that limit the rapid dissipation of smoke
  • When wind may cause unsafe conditions
  • Under extremely dry or arid conditions
  • Under a smog alert
  • During a city-wide burn ban

Fires shall not be set in close proximity to any combustible material that may constitute a fire hazard.

Even if you are legally burning you cannot cause an adverse effect to the community. “Adverse effect” is defined as one or more of the:

  • Impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it
  • Injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life
  • Harm or material discomfort to any person
  • An adverse effect on the health of any person or the impairment of the safety of any person
  • Rendering any property or plant or animal life unfit for use by man
  • Loss of enjoyment of normal use of property
  • Interference with the normal conduct of business
  • Obstruction of a travelled portion of any public or private driveway or roadway

When do I need a fire permit?

You will need a permit for fire larger than 24” but no larger than one cubic meter. A Special Burn Permit is required for fires larger than 1 cubic meter.

You do not need a permit if the following conditions are met:

  • The fire area is no larger than 60 cm (24”) in diameter
  • The fire area is supervised at all times by an adult person
  • The fire area is within an approved area or pit designed for that use
  • The fire area does not violate any other laws, by-laws, rules or regulations
  • The fire area is a minimum of 15 meters from any building or other structures and 5 meters from any fences, trees, brush piles or combustible materials.

What Can I Burn?

You may burn wood or wood by-products only!!

Wood by-products is defined as wood or wood products, including tree trunks, tree branches and brush, that are not contaminated with paint.

You cannot burn grass clippings or leaves.

We encourage composting and recycling! For more information, pick up the Garbage and Recycling Collection Calendar at any Municipal Service Centre.

Regular Burn Permits

Regular Burn permits (up to 1 cubic meter) are $10.00 and available at Municipal Service Stations, from Fire Prevention Inspectors or from Fire Captains at any Fire Hall. Regular Burn Permits are valid for one burn only.

This type of fire must comply with all the general provisions listed in this brochure and must be at least 15 meters from any buildings or other structures and 5 meters from any fences, tree, brush piles or other combustible materials.

Annual Burn Permit

An Annual Burn Permit is $50.00 and is the same as a regular burn permit, issued on an annual basis. The permit expires on the last day of the calendar year issued.

Special Burn Permits

Special Burn Permits (over 1 cubic meter) are $20.00 and available from Fire Prevention Inspectors or from Fire Captains at any Fire Hall.

This type of fire must comply with all of the general provisions listed in this brochure as well as the special provisions outlined by the issuer. Special Burn Permits are considered individually – not all permits will contain the same provisions.

Special Burn Permits may require a site inspection and will be addressed within one week of the request.

Long Term Special Burn Permit

A person other than the lessee/owner of a farm may request special permission for an extended time and include more than one burn. A site visit may be required, please allow 7 days minimum. Fee is $40.00

Agricultural Burn Permits

Agricultural Burn Permits are $20.00 and are valid for one year and expire on the last day of the calendar year issued. This allows burning that is no larger than 3 metres by 3 metres (10’x10’) and considered normal farming practice. These permits are available at Municipal Service Centres, from Fire Prevention Inspectors or from Fire Captains at any Fire Hall.

An Agricultural Permit does not apply to any residential type areas including residential buildings on farm property. This type of fire must comply with all the general provisions listed.

Agricultural Special Burn Permit

Agricultural special permit is $40 and is required for open air burning on farm property for fires greater than 3 metres by 3 metres and meet agricultural setbacks. Agricultural permits do not apply to the residential areas of a farm and may require a site visit, please allow 7 days minimum.

Burn Barrels

A copy of the by-law is available online at Generally speaking, burn barrels are not allowed in built-up urban areas (ie. Towns, villages, subdivisions, etc.)

Where Burn Barrels are permitted, they must meet the design below and do not require a permit


  • Metal barrel must be in good condition

Heavy Screen Mesh

  • Heavy duty screen with mesh size not greater than 7mm

Help Combustion and Clean Burning

  • Punch holes and shove steel rods or pipes through barrel. This will hold burning material up and give a clean fast burn.

Ground Cleared and maintained

  • At least 2 meters around incinerator of all material that could cause your fire to escape. More clearance may be required.

Draft Holes

Draft Holes are required near the bottom of the barrel no larger than 2.5 cm in diameter, around the circumference of the barrel.


This guide should be used for general reference only. For official wording and exact specifications please obtain a copy of City of Kawartha Lakes By-Law # 2006-110.

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