You can help reduce the risk of grass fires
The Star

As we settle into warmer weather, remember to stay vigilant in preventing grass fires. Even small forested areas around your home have the potential for a grass or brush fire.

There are many ways you can help prevent fires around your home.

1. If you live near a park or trail, cut tall grass down near wooden fences at the sides or rear of your property.

2. Remember to safely remove leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.

3. Grass fires are best contained when they are small. First sightings of smoke on the trail, or in parks, is the best time to notify the local fire service.

4. Keep your plant landscapes hydrated and maintained. Trimming tree limbs, so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground, will help reduce the chance of fire getting into the crowns of the trees.

5. In the early spring, the long grass is extremely dry and any discarded smoking materials can easily start a grass fire. This coupled with seasonal strong winds can help the fire travel quickly.

As the trails are not generally accessible with the regular fire trucks, firefighters have to bring in the equipment they need from the municipal streets. This can give the fire time to get larger and travel further.

A key part of preventing grass fires includes properly disposing of yard waste to the curb. Please place weeds, plant trimmings, and leaves in paper yard bags, or any rigid open-top container that has sturdy handles and a close fitting lid.

Remember to bundle and tie branches as follows:

? Individual branches must be no larger than 10 cm (4") in diameter

? Branches must be bundled with twine

? Bundles and bags must be no more than 22 kg (50 lbs) and no longer than 1.2 m (4 ft.)

? Please do not include these items in with your yard waste: Grass clippings, rocks, stumps, dirt, soil, sod, root balls, kitchen scraps, food waste, flower pots and trays, animal droppings, driveway, and road sweepings, painted and treated wood

If you are using a rigid container for your yard waste, you need a yellow Yard Waste Sticker to ensure collection. Stickers are free and are available to residents. The container must not exceed 50 cm (20”) in diameter or 90 cm (36”) in height. Email to obtain your sticker.

When open burning is allowed, fires can only be burned during permitted hours — no fires between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Fires should be small, no more than 30” in diameter and 40” in height — including the flame height.

Keep a pressurized garden hose near the fire. Fires must be at least 4 metres from your home, lot line, trees, fences vehicles, overhead wires, and any other combustible materials.

When conditions are very dry, the fire chief can issue a ban on open burning. No outdoor fires are allowed during a burn ban.

Visit for updated burn status, fire prevention tips, and resources.

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