Calgary is one of few major municipalities that allow backyard fire pits. Because were so lucky, the privilege should be dealt with responsibly. A fire pit is a great place to socialize and relax during the warm-weather months, but you need to be conscious of your neighbours’ comfort and your safety anytime you’re dealing with open flames. There’s a right way and a wrong way to operate a fire pit, and brushing up on safety tips will assure flame to tinder this spring and summer is nothing but enjoyable.
Calgary Home Insurance: Municipal Fire Pit Regulations
In Calgary, fire pits are covered under Community Standards Bylaw 5M2004. Here is an overview of the regulations you must follow to remain in accordance with bylaws:
- All fires must be fully contained within a fire pit, or within a specially designed receptacle built from non-combustible material such as brick or stone
- Fires must be at least 2 metres away from property lines, buildings, fences, trees, branches and other flammable materials
- Fires must not exceed 1 metre in height or width
- Fires are permitted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 a.m.
- Active fires must be supervised at all times
There are also restrictions on the types of materials you can and cannot burn. The following materials may not be burned in Calgary fire pits:
- Treated lumber
- Painted lumber
- Lumber containing industrial resins or glue
- Wet wood
- Unseasoned wood
- Yard waste
- Rubber, plastic or tires
- Animal parts or carcasses
Calgary’s fire chief has the authority to impose temporary restrictions and bans on fire pit use. This may occur in the event of extreme hot weather or droughts, and where there is a heightened risk of fire spreading and limited resources to fight them.
If a fire, police or municipal official asks you to put out a fire, always comply.
Calgary Home Insurance: Using a Fire Pit Safely
Be sure to follow these important safety guidelines whenever you’re using your fire pit:
- Check wind conditions. High winds can increase the risk of fires spreading to unintended areas. Look at the hourly weather forecast to see if winds are expected to pick up.
- Use a metal grill or screen to contain the height of the flames in the pit. These screens also prevent sparks and embers from flying out of the pit, reducing the risk of nearby flammable materials accidentally igniting.
- Your fire pit should be level.
- Avoid placing pits on wooden decks, enclosed porches and grass-covered surfaces.
- Do not use accelerants such as kerosene, gasoline or lighter fluid to build a larger fire.
- Always have dousing agents close at hand in case of an emergency. Examples include fire extinguishers, garden hoses and sand buckets.
- If you are losing control of a fire, put it out immediately.
- Gas is generally safer than wood, especially in Calgary, where dry conditions can easily ignite a fire in your yard or your home. Never place flammable seats near a fire pit, and be sure to dispose of ashes safely. Here’s how:
- Dampen and cool leftover ashes, then transfer them to a metal container
- Dispose of the ashes in an inflammable, secure container; never put them in contact with wood, compost, cardboard or paper
- Remember that ashes that seem to be cool retain heat for several days
Calgary Home Insurance: Be a Good Neighbour
It’s important to remember that not everyone likes fire pits, and that billowing smoke can be a major irritant to your neighbours. Remember, too, that some people are allergic to smoke. If a neighbour approaches you and asks you to contain the fire, do your best to work out a mutually acceptable solution.
Here are some courtesy tips to help you enjoy your fire pit without disrupting others:
- Remember that low wind speeds mean that the smoke won’t clear as quickly
- Check the direction of the wind to see if it’s likely to carry smoke in the direction of neighbours who have expressed concerns about open fires
- Avoid burning any materials that could cause strong odours
- Try to limit noise and always be sure to put out the fire no later than 1 a.m.
Calgary Home Insurance: The Lane’s Difference
At Lane’s Insurance, we’re here to help you keep your Calgary home insurance rates as low as possible while still enjoying the vital protections you need for your peace of mind. We offer outstanding rates on home insurance, along with value-added service and money-saving insurance bundles.
Be sure to visit Lane’s Insurance online for a fast, free, no-obligation home insurance quote.