Town of Amherst’s amended Fires and Burning of Material Bylaw to go into effect on July 13, 2020

The Town of Amherst’s amended Fires and Burning of Material Bylaw will go into effect on Monday, July 13, 2020.

The amended bylaw, which was given second reading by Amherst town council on July 10, 2020, allows the use, without permit within town boundaries, of CSA or ULC-approved recreational outdoor burning appliances that are designed to contain a small fire for recreational or entertainment purposes such as an outdoor fireplace, outdoor dome fireplace or fire pit. It does not include appliances that are designed or used to heat a building.

For those appliances that burn wood, a spark arrester with openings no larger than 9.6 millimetres must be fitted to the appliance in order to prevent sparks from being released into the atmosphere.

The wood being burned must also be clean, dry and untreated and shall not exceed 60 centimetres in width or piled higher than 45 centimetres in height, nor shall the burning of wood unreasonably interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment of their property.

The amended bylaw also states the property owner, or a person appointed by them who is 19 years old or older, will be designated as being in charge of the fire. This person shall be present at all times when the fire is burning and shall remain present until the fire is completely extinguished.

In addition, the person in charge must ensure tools that could contain an outdoor fire, such as brooms, rakes, back tanks, shovels, fire extinguisher or garden hose, are available on the property within a reasonable distance from the fire. The person in charge must also have the ability to call 911 quickly if an incident occurs.

In addition, the amended bylaw states outdoor burning appliances will not be placed on wooden decks or other combustible material, only one such appliance shall be used on the property at a time and any fire must be at least 4.75 metres from any dwelling, accessory building, flammable structure, combustible material or property line.

The amendments also indicate no fire can be lit when the wind speed is in excess of 25 kilometres per hour, as reported for the Amherst area by Environment Canada, or when the provincial Department of Lands and Forestry issues a daily burn restriction for the Cumberland region. The daily burn restriction for the Cumberland region can be found on the department’s website at It is updated daily at 2 p.m.

Upon conviction, anyone violating the bylaw can be subjected to fine on not less than $100 and not more than $10,000. A fine can also be applied on any individual who fails to heed any direction given by the town to enforce the bylaw as follows: first offence $250, second offence $500, third offence $1,000, fourth offence $1,500.

The full bylaw will be placed on the town’s website shortly.