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Guidelines for Outside Fires

There have been substantial changes around outside burning at the Provincial level within the Department of Environment and Local Government in recent years.  These changes have resulted in a shift of greater responsibilities in the regulation and enforcement, with regard to outside burning, to the Municipal level.  Our mandate with regard to outside burning; however, is unchanged.  The Saint John Fire Department is responsible for the safety of the citizens of Saint John as well as their enjoyment of their property as it relates to controlled outside burning.

To fulfill these responsibilities, it is necessary to set out definitive parameters for our involvement in this area:  

• The Saint John Fire Department does not issue burning permits
• Burning for the purposes of clearing land, property,  or the disposal of any material does not constitute a recreational fire and is prohibited under these guidelines
• Property owners are permitted to burn approved materials for recreational purposes in the proper manner
• Recreational fires can be contained in an approved retail unit and/or at site that satisfies the requirements as listed
• Approved materials consist of clean wood or wood products (no chemically treated wood or building materials

Proper recreational burning practices must follow the proper burning practices as listed below:

• The use of approved retail appliances must adhere to the guidelines on Backyard Fireplaces
• Any deviance from the Proper Burning Practices or the guidelines for Backyard Fireplaces  will result in the response of fire crews and the extinguishment of the fire


It is the responsibility of the Saint John fire Department to anticipate the safety needs of the community and weigh the risk factors associated with recreational fires within the municipal boundaries.

To that end, the following rules must be adhered to with the goal of public safety and enjoyment of recreational fires by citizens and visitors.

Approved Materials: 

• Only use wood or wood products that are dry and are not chemically treated.

Proper Recreational Burning Practices:

• Full Supervision 
• 10-litre pail of water or a connected garden hose accessible 
• Proper clearance from combustibles 


• 1.5 meters from combustibles
• 15 meters from wooded areas 
• 3 meters from tall grass
• Screens must be a maximum of 12 mm

Not Screened:

• 150 meters from wooded areas or other property structures
• Do not burn in high wind conditions
• Backyard fireplaces (retail units) must be used in conjunction with manufacturer's instructions and U.L.C., W.H.I. approved usage methods

Any deviance from these safety rules will result in response from your neighbourhood Fire Company and subsequent extinguishment of the fire.


These guidelines that must be observed when using a recreational fire devices.  Should you have any questions, please direct them back to Fire Prevention 658-2962.

They must not be used on a combustible deck or surface unless approved for such use (ULC or WHI).

  • Must be used with all screens in place and closed.
  • No treated wood is to be used as fuel. (e.g. pentox or creosote).
  • No refuse or garbage is to be burned.
  • No chemically treated wood is to be used as fuel (e.g. Presto Logs).
  • Must have a 10 litre pail of water or a connected garden hose near by while in use.
  • Must maintain proper clearance from combustibles (1.5m from buildings and fuel supplies, 3m from tall grass and 15m from wooded areas).
  • Some units require clearance from bottom of unit to ground.
  • Must follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Must not be left unattended while in operation and all embers extinguished when fire has been completed and not left to burn out on its own.
  • Must not be overloaded (screens must be kept closed except for when charging the unit).
Open circles of rocks and tire rims (campfires or bon fires) are not permitted under this approval and home-made devices must incorporate a screen having an opening of not more than 12mm when being used as a recreational fireplace.

It is our hope that citizens and visitors to Saint John will conduct their recreational fires responsibly pursuing the safety and enjoyment of this activity for themselves and their neighbours.

Any issues with regard to air quality and particulate matter when burning is being conducted to the above practices will be referred to the Department of Environment and Local Government 658-2558, www.gnb.ca, P.O. Box 6000, 20 McGloin Street, Fredericton, NB  E3B 5H1.