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Fire chiefs issue county-wide ban on open air burning

by Patrick Raftis

WELLINGTON COUNTY - The county is now under a complete outdoor fire ban.

Wellington County’s fire chiefs decided on July 5 to prohibit all open air burning within the county under the authority of the Ontario Fire Protection and Prevention Act. 

The ban is now in effect until further notice. 

Open air burn is defined as any fire outside of a building. The ban includes bonfires, campfires, burn barrels, outdoor fireplaces/chimineas or any other fires set in open air. 

Fines are in place for violations and the ban also applies to Open Burn Permit holders.

The outdoor open air fire ban has been imposed due to the “extreme dryness of all vegetation in Wellington County,” states a press release from the Wellington County Fire Chiefs Association. Provincial forest and wild land fire indicators are all at extreme levels, the release notes.

“If you discover a fire in the open, it is very important that you report fires immediately to 911,” the release states.

Centre Wellington Fire Chief Brad Patton, the county’s fire coordinator, said while unusual, the fire chiefs have gone to the extent of implementing a fire ban across the entire county in the past. 

A ban was previously issued in July of 2012, he pointed out. A nine-day burning ban was also implemented across the county in July of 2011.

While bans have generally been issued on a municipality-by-municipality basis in the past, Patton said local fire departments are attempting to take a more coordinated approach.

“We have done that in the past ... You may get  lot of rain in Erin and not so much in Minto, but it seems to be lately that the conditions are a little more predominant across the county,” he said.

“The Wellington County Fire Chiefs Association meets regularly and we’re trying to be more in step with one another so there’s no confusion across the county ... We’re trying to be a little more cohesive,” he added.

Citizens are asked to direct any questions regarding this order to their local fire department.

Patton said any decision to lift the ban would be made jointly by the county fire chiefs and  citizens should monitor their local municipal websites and social media for updates.

Patton cautioned it will require significant rainfall to convince the group to lift the ban.

“We need a substantial rain over a couple of days. It is so dry out there that a couple of hours of rain is not going to get us out of our drought conditions.”

The ban comes on the heels of a June 29 call from the Grand River Conservation Authority for a 10 per cent reduction in water consumption across the watershed due to the unusually dry conditions.

July 8, 2016

 
 

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