Outdoor Burning Ban FAQ COVID-19

A fire closure order, issued under the Fire Prevention Act, prohibits open fires in Prince Edward Island.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a ban (fire closure order) in place?

The ban on outdoor burning is in place to keep volunteer and government fire fighters safe. Almost all of wild land fires on Prince Edward Island are the result of fires that have escaped from a controlled burn.

While fire fighters are essential and are ready to respond to a fire if needed, it is a good practice to limit their exposure. The majority of other Canadian jurisdictions have also implemented a ban on outdoor burning for the spring period.

On May 14, 2020 the ban on small recreational campfires for cooking or warmth was eased. People are reminded that all outdoor burning regulations and requirements still apply as do all standards related to COVID 19. 

The Burning Permit ban issued by the PEI Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change, and the Fire Marshal’s Office still applies. If you see an open fire, please call 911.

What is prohibited, or permitted, during a fire ban?

All burning permits are suspended. No outside open fires. No grass or brush fires.

Small recreational campfires for warmth or cooking are permitted as of May 14, 2020.   

Cooking outdoors using a charcoal or propane barbeque is allowed. However, burning or smoldering charcoal briquettes must not be placed on the ground. After cooking, briquettes must be completely extinguished and ashes disposed in an acceptable storage device.

Enclosed fires (chimineas): The only exception if the fire is contained in a fire pit and enclosure equipped with a spark arrester or chimney with spark arrester.

Always check with your municipality and follow bylaws or ordinances regarding the use of chimineas in your area. If permitted by the municipality, some enclosed wood burning devices, like chimineas are allowed during an open fire ban. These devices are considered enclosed fires (similar to wood stoves). The stove must have a door or a spark screen in the open fire area as well as a screen installed to trap sparks at the top of the chimney.

Fireworks are prohibited, including the display, sale, and possession, in Prince Edward Island, except by permit. All permits are suspended during an open fire ban.

What additional precautions should I take?

At all time it is recommended that when operating motorized small equipment, such as chainsaws and other motor driven devices, that working spark arresters and proper mufflers are in place. Always carry a dry chemical fire extinguisher pack.

Do not use a machine that is backfiring.

Carry a portable fire extinguisher in your vehicle.

Use caution with propane burners, welding torches or arc welding devices by ensuring that there are no burnable materials under or close by the burner or welder. Have a fire extinguisher present.

Are fines increased during a fire ban / fire closure period?

Yes, generally, fines for failure to comply with the Fire Prevention Act are between $200 and $1,000 plus the victims of crime costs. When a fire closure order is in place, fines range between $500 to $2,000, plus the victims of crime costs. In addition, a person causing a fire may be liable for all damages arising from the fire.

Does the fire ban apply to the national park?

Parks Canada is a separate legal entity that establishes its own rules in respect to campfires and other open fires. Check with Parks Canada for current information on any restrictions within its borders.

When will the ban be lifted?

Several factors will be taken into consideration before the ban is lifted. Generally, there needs to be a reduction in the potential for any fire that escapes to become a major wild land fire.

When officials have determined that it is safe to remove the fire ban, government will make a public announcement through traditional and social media sources, and will post a notice princeedwardisland.ca.

Who can I contact for more information?

Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division
J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery
183 Upton Road, Charlottetown

Phone: 902-368-6450
Phone: 902-368-4683 for wildlife emergencies
Email: khmayhew@gov.pe.ca

Published date: 
May 14, 2020
Environment, Water and Climate Change

General Inquiries

Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division
J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery
183 Upton Road
Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6450

Wildlife Emergencies:
902-368-4683

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khmayhew@gov.pe.ca