Find out how you can prevent fires in and around your home.
Backyard fire pits and fireplaces are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but they can be dangerous and the smoke and noise can disturb your neighbours.
Fire pits are regulated under the Community Standards Bylaw. Here are a few things you need to do to make sure your fire is safe and legal.
Building a Proper Fire Pit
Within Edmonton city limits, fire pits must:
- Be at least 3 metres (10 feet) from buildings, property lines and anything else that could catch fire
- Be less than 0.6 metres (2 feet) high
- Be less than 1 metre (3 feet) wide
- Have enclosed sides made from bricks, concrete or heavy-gauge metal
- Have a mesh screen on top to stop sparks (spark-arrestor) with openings smaller than 1.25 centimetres (1/2 inch)
Burning the Proper Fuels
The only things that can be burned in an outdoor fire pit are:
- Clean (non-treated), dry wood
The only things that can be burned in an outdoor fireplace are:
- Preservative-free wood or wood products
Burning yard waste, garbage, paper or anything that might create too much smoke or toxic smoke is prohibited.
Limiting Noise and Smoke
While you may enjoy the smell of wood smoke, not everyone does. Some medical conditions are aggravated by smoke. Make sure that your fire is small and burning clean, dry fuels to limit the amount of smoke drifting on to your neighbours' property.
It is also important to limit the noise from around the fire pit, especially late at night.
Before starting a fire, check to make sure there are no fire bans in your area. The provincial department of Sustainable Resource Development provides information about every Alberta Fire Ban.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises citizens to never leave a fire unattended, even for a short period of time.
For gas fire pits, be sure to turn off the fuel source after use.
For wood-burning fire pits:
- Always have a hose, bucket of water or shovel with dirt or sand nearby to put out the fire. Make sure to put it out completely before leaving it unattended. Apply water to all coals or remaining flames. Stir with a stick and pour more water. Before you leave the pit, make sure that there is no heat, glow or flame remaining.
- Dispose of ashes before they have cooled. Empty the ashes in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only for the ashes. Place the container away from anything that can burn. Never empty the ashes directly into a trash can.
Reporting Your Concerns
If you have a concern about a fire pit:
- Discuss the concern directly with your neighbour
- Record the address of the violation and a description of the problem if you can't resolve it directly with your neighbour
- Call 311
- Provide your name, address, phone number and the details of your concern in case your testimony is required in court.
Responding to Your Complaint
After you call 311, the City takes these steps to help with your issue:
- A file is created specifying your concerns
- A bylaw officer opens an investigation
- The officer investigates your complaint within 4 business days
- The bylaw officer may issue a warning notice with directions to remedy the problem within a specified time frame or issue a bylaw ticket with a $250 fine depending on the circumstances
- The officer may issue an order, which allows the City to fix the problem and bill the property owner for the cost
- The city may contact you to appear as a witness, if the matter goes to court
If you believe a burning fire is dangerous, call 911 and Fire Rescue Services will respond immediately.
Protecting your Privacy
The information you provide will be used to process your complaint, but your name and address will not be made available to anyone else. For more information on how the City protects your privacy visit Freedom of Information and Privacy.