Under the Fire Protection Act, if you light a fire, you are responsible for it. If your fire gets out of control, you may be liable for the cost of fighting it, and for the destruction of property. You may also face criminal penalties for violating burning regulations.
How can I prevent wildfires as a property owner?
The FireSmart Canada website has resources you can use in wildfire planning and preparation.
What are Fire Hazard Zones?
There are three zones where you can reduce fire hazards around your property. These zones extend out from buildings as follows:
- Zone 1 – 1.5 to 10 meters
- Zone 2 – 10 to 30 meters
- Zone 3 – 30 to 100 meters (also includes information about emergency access to your property)
Where can I find additional Fire Smart resources?
Click the Manuals button on the Fire Smart Resources library page and look for the following manuals and guides:
You can also find emergency preparedness information for your household and property at the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared website.
What do I need to know about outdoor fire and campfire safety?
Under certain conditions, outdoor burning may be suspended in PEI due to risk of wildfire. Before starting any outdoor fire, check for burn restrictions for Category 1 fires and the Fire Weather Index (FWI) for Category 2, 3, or 4 fires. View details for the categories of outdoor fires.
The province of PEI does not require burning permits for category 1 fires. Contact your local city, town, or village government office to ensure you abide by local burning requirements.
When you start any fire for burning grass, brush and other winter debris on your property or for a back-yard bonfire or campfire, you are responsible for assessing the risk, controlling fire spread, and covering any damages or costs that may arise from that fire.
Before lighting an outdoor fire:
- Confirm that your municipal bylaws allow outdoor burning,
- Make sure conditions are suitable in your area at the time of your fire,
- Make sure you have immediate access to a working landline or charged cell phone to call 911 if the fire begins to spread, and
- Practice proper fire etiquette and safety outlined below.
Campfire etiquette and safety:
- You must own the property or have the property owner’s permission to have a campfire,
- If you are at a campground or cottage you must have the permission of the owner/operator,
- If you are in an incorporated town, village or city you must meet the burning bylaws of that community,
- Use a suitable fire structure to contain fire to a small area, i.e. fire pit or stone fire break,
- Have plenty of water, a shovel or other fire suppression tools on hand before you start the fire,
- Add small amounts of material at a time to help keep your fire small and under control at all times,
- Burn only small pieces of unprocessed wood, i.e. sticks and branches. Do not burn construction waste, boards, household waste and other products, and
- Fully extinguish your fire before leaving the fire site. Check by holding your hand over the site to feel any heat from live embers. Smother with water or sand to fully prevent a spark re-igniting to flame.
Controlling a domestic burn:
An easy and safer way to dispose of winter yard debris is by chipping branches and composting leaves and grasses. However, if burning is the only option, choose to burn when the burn restrictions for your region allow.
You are permitted to burn only yard debris including grass, round wood, brush, and tree by-products such as bark, branches, needles and leaves.
Prepare for safe burning before you begin:
- Ensure you have reliable and immediate access to your local fire service in case of emergency,
- Have shovels, spades and rakes and plenty of water to control spreading and completely extinguish the fire,
- Create firebreaks around brush piles by raking down to mineral soil, wetting the area, mowing grass plowing soil,
- Burn materials in a container such as an old barrel or approved outdoor fireplace, if possible,
- Select a safe burn site away from buildings and other flammable materials,
- Burn in the early morning or just before sunset when conditions are cooler, humidity is higher, and winds are lower,
- Keep the fire small (less than 2 m wide and 2 m tall), gradually adding new materials to the fire,
- Continuously patrol your burn area to ensure the fire is contained to its defined space, and
- Do not leave the site until the fire is completely out. Check any hot embers and be sure to douse them with water or bury them.