Backyard Fire and Fireworks Bylaws in Waterloo Region

May 17, 2024
Categories: Home Insurance · Safety
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As the days get longer and warmer, many of us are eagerly anticipating summer nights spent gathered around a crackling fire or watching fireworks light up the sky. However, before you break out the marshmallows or set off those sparklers, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local regulations governing backyard fires and fireworks.

In Waterloo Region, which encompasses the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich, each municipality has its own set of bylaws regarding these activities.

Please Note: These bylaws were researched and current as of May 2024. They may change without notice. It is advised to contact your local municipality or follow the provided links for the most up-to-date regulations and if there are any fire bans or additional restrictions in place.

This summer, before you consider lighting a backyard fire or setting off fireworks, here’s what you need to know:

City of Kitchener Backyard Fires & Fireworks

In Kitchener, backyard fires are permitted with certain restrictions. A permit is not required but the fire must be contained within an outdoor fireplace, backyard chiminea, or fire pit, and it must be located at least 5 metres away from any structure or flammable items. The fire can only burn between 6-11 p.m. More information here: Bylaws at home – City of Kitchener

As for fireworks in Kitchener, residents are only allowed to set off fireworks on private property before 11 p.m. on three designated holidays: Diwali, Canada Day, and Victoria Day.

City of Waterloo Backyard Fires & Fireworks

Unlike Kitchener, Waterloo does not allow backyard fires. The city’s open air fire bylaw prohibits fires except for those maintained by the city, the region, at a Laurel Creek camp site, or at a site where a strike is occurring. The penalties are tough if someone is found breaking Waterloo’s open-air fire bylaw. The first offence carries a fine between $400 and $25,000, and subsequent offences could see a maximum fine of $50,000. Open air fire bylaw – City of Waterloo

Meantime fireworks in Waterloo are allowed to be discharged (between dusk and 11 p.m.) on the day of, and the days immediately before and after, Victoria Day and Canada Day, as well as the days that constitute the duration of the Lunar New Year and the Diwali holidays.

City of Cambridge Backyard Fires & Fireworks

In Cambridge, residents are allowed to have recreational fires without a permit, as long as they follow specific guidelines. These guidelines include small fires, confined, and supervised at all times, and used to cook food on a grill or a barbeque. As of August 2023, fireworks that are set off in Cambridge between dusk and 11 p.m. on Canada Day, Diwali, and Victoria Day do not require a permit. Fire Prevention and Burn Permits – City of Cambridge

Township of North Dumfries Backyard Fires & Fireworks

North Dumfries allows recreational fires, but they must follow a number of safety protocols including a minimum of 5 metres from adjacent properties and 5 metres from all structures, vegetation, and overhead wires. Fires must be extinguished by 11:59 p.m.

Fireworks in North Dumfries are only permitted to be set off the day before, day of, and day after Victoria Day and Canada Day. They must be finished by 10:15 p.m. and can only be discharged on private property (not public parks or roads). Common By-Laws – Township of North Dumfries

Township of Wilmot Backyard Fires & Fireworks

Wilmot Township requires a burn permit to have a backyard fire. There are three types of permits and are based on the size of the property and if the area is zoned for agriculture. Recreational fire permits cost $20 per year and can applied for online: Burn Permits – Wilmot Township

In Wilmot, fireworks can only be discharged on Victoria Day, Canada Day, and the days immediately before and after these holidays.

Township of Woolwich Backyard Fires & Fireworks

Woolwich Township also requires a permit to have a backyard fire. There is no cost for a “campfire permit” but residents must agree to safety regulations such as the campfire size is no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet and must be at least 15 feet from property lines, structures, fences, etc. More information available here: Burn Permits and Burning – Woolwich Township

Consumer fireworks in Woolwich are allowed on private property. However, a Fireworks Display Permit is required with a minimum 14 days, notice if the show (public or private) is going to include the use of display fireworks. Learn more: Bylaw: TOWNSHIP OF WOOLWICH

Township of Wellesley Backyard Fires & Fireworks

The Township of Wellesley requires residents to purchase a burn permit and may only burn clean, dry wood. The cost of a monthly burn permit is $45 and a full year costs $155. Learn more and apply here: Burn Permits and Open Air Burning – Township of Wellesley

Wellesley allows setting off low-hazard fireworks only on the following days in each calendar year: Victoria Day, Civic Holiday, and Labour Day, where fireworks may be discharged on any of the three days during those weekends, and on Canada Day, or the days before and after.

It’s important to note that regardless of where you reside in Waterloo Region, safety should always be the top priority when enjoying backyard fires and fireworks. Always follow the guidelines set forth by your municipality, never leave fires unattended, and exercise caution when handling fireworks. By respecting local regulations and practicing responsible behavior, you can ensure a summer filled with enjoyable and safe outdoor fun.

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