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Lacombe County fire permit season begins March 1: Have you got yours?

Lacombe County reminds people that permit requests are free and easy to submit online

Lacombe County reminds ratepayers that fire permit season starts on March 1, 2019. In 2017, permit season was moved up a month – starting March 1 rather than April 1 – in response to changing environmental conditions, including drier spring conditions.

“This winter has not brought a lot of snow to Lacombe County and as a result, spring conditions will likely be drier. This was evident in 2018 as well, with an early fire ban put in place by the end of last April,” said Drayton Bussiere, Lacombe County Fire Chief. “Residents are also encouraged to check on any controlled burns performed outside of permit season, as larger burns can smolder through the winter and reignite as it warms up. By complying with the fire permit process and by using safe burning practices, all Lacombe County residents can help us keep our County safe throughout the season.”

Burning without a fire permit can result in a hefty fine.

Under Lacombe County’s Fire Protection Policy, anyone found burning without a permit will be required to pay for the fire department response fees. A flat rate of $300 will be charged for responses to a fire when a person is in contravention of the Forest and Prairie Protection Act for failure to have a fire permit or any other provision of the Act and fire suppression is not required.

“It’s about public safety and burning responsibly,” said Bussiere. “Fire permits are free of charge and easy to obtain, yet we continue to have situations where people don’t take out a permit and can be charged under the bylaw, the intent here is not to generate revenue but to ensure the safety of all Lacombe County residents and their neighbours.”

The past several years have seen many producers brush lands and burn the brush during the winter months. It is very important to remember to check these piles as they can smolder for many months, and can be rekindled by wind. Combine this with dry spring conditions and the resulting fires can be disastrous.

Fires that are started by rekindled brush piles are your responsibility and you can also be charged for the fire response. Should a Fire Department respond to a fire for which a permit has not been issued, or if a permit has been issued and the permit holder contravenes any of the conditions of the permit, the property owner will be assessed costs at the following rates:

  • Fire truck – $500 per hour
  • Water truck – $300 per hour
  • Rapid response unit/mini pumper – $300 per hour
  • Equipment van – $300 per hour
  • Equipment other than fire apparatus – Lacombe County cost
  • Personnel other than fire department members – Lacombe County cost

Beginning on March 1, 2019, online fire permits can be submitted from the Lacombe County website homepage (www.lacombecounty.com), and through the “my Lacombe County” app (Apple users). People are also able to request permits in person at the Lacombe County Office, or by calling 403-782-8959.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do you require a fire permit?

The Forest and Prairie Protection Act prohibits the lighting of an outdoor fire, excluding an attended outdoor camp fire which has been set for cooking or warming purposes, between March 1 and October 31 each year, on land in a permit area, unless the person is a holder of a subsisting fire permit.

The Forest and Prairie Protection Act states that no person shall:

  1. Light an outdoor fire without first taking sufficient precautions to ensure that the fire can be kept under control at all times, or
  2. Light an outdoor fire when weather conditions are conducive to a fire readily escaping out of control, or
  3. Fail to take reasonable steps to control a fire for the purpose of preventing it from spreading unto land other than his own, or
  4. Deposit, discard or leave any burning matter or substance in a place where it might ignite other matter and result in a fire.

How can you obtain a permit?

Beginning on March 1, online fire permits can be submitted from the Lacombe County website homepage (www.lacombecounty.com) and from the new “my Lacombe County” app. Permits can also be requested in person at the Lacombe County Office, or by calling 403-782-8959.

What you need to know

In Lacombe County, fire permits are required during the fire season, which starts March 1st and ends October 31st each year, but can be extended if the risk or danger of wildfire exists.

Before lighting any fire, a permit holder must take precautions to ensure that the fire is kept under control at all times. The following rules apply to all permits issued in Lacombe County:

  • A fire permit is valid only for the period that it is issued for.
  • Upon issuing a permit, the County may specify any special fire control condition that, in their discretion, is important to the safety of the county residents.
  • The fire must be set at the time and place indicated on the permit.
  • The number of fires set at one time and minimum equipment needed may be specified on the permit.

Anyone who sets a fire under the authority of a permit must:

  • Have a the permit at the fire site
  • Produce and show the permit to a County employee on request
  • Keep the fire under control, and
  • Extinguish the fire before expiration, or upon cancellation of the permit, or obtain a renewal.

What can you burn?

Burnable debris includes:

  • Brush and fallen trees
  • Used power and telephone poles that do not contain preservatives
  • Wood or wood products not containing preservatives
  • Solid waste from tree harvesting
  • Straw, stubble, grass, weeds, leaves, and tree prunings
  • Solid waste from post and pole operations that does not contain wood preservatives

Prohibited debris includes:

  • Animal manure
  • Pathological waste (waste from human health centres)
  • Wood or wood products containing wood preservatives
  • Waste materials from construction sites
  • Rubber, including tires
  • Plastic, including baler twine
  • Oil
  • Containers that held pesticides or any other chemicals
  • Plastic or rubber coated materials, including copper wire.

Special provisions for stubble burning

A Stubble Burning Permit is required throughout the year prior to burning the stubble or swath of any crop. A field inspection will be required prior to the issuance of a permit. Phone the Agricultural Fieldman at 782-8959 a few days in advance for inspection arrangements. Stubble Burning Permits may only be obtained at the County office from the Manager of Environmental and Protective Services or the Agricultural Fieldman.

Remember to recycle

Many items that you may consider burning can be recycled: Plastics, paper, cardboard and metal materials, used oil, tires and beverage containers, along with many other items. Call the Recycle Info Line at 1-800-463-8320 for local information or visit the Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission website (www.lrwsc.ca).

-Submitted by Lacombe County

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