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City of Winnipeg
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Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

Open Air Fires

Bonfires, Crop Residue, Wood Disposal, Warming Fires, and Ceremonial Fires.

IMPORTANT: City of Winnipeg Open-Air Fire Guidelines

The City of Winnipeg has established revised standards and requirements for all open-air fires regulated under the Fire Prevention By-law. These revisions include specific Permit and Fee requirements for all open-air fires ignited for various purposes on all properties except single-family residential properties. Permits and Fees will be required for, but not necessarily limited to open-air fires such as:
  • Bonfires
  • Burning of crop residues
  • Disposal of wood
  • Warming fires
In order to obtain an open-air fire permit the applicant must apply to the Fire Prevention Branch in person with a letter of permission from the property owner (if the applicant doesn't own the property) along with a hand drawn site map showing the location of the burn, the materials to be burned and distances from buildings or other combustible structures, the means of extinguishment and possibly other information. Religious and/or Ceremonial fires require a Permit but no fee will be charged.

Where do I apply for a permit?

Permits may be applied for at the Fire Department-Fire Prevention Branch, located at 2nd Floor, 185 King St. between the hours of 8:30AM and 4:00PM.

By what method can I pay for the permit?

Payment can be made at the time of application by cash, credit card/Interac or cheque made payable to the City of Winnipeg.

What are the requirements for having a bonfire?

Some requirements for igniting a bonfire are:
  • The Permit must be retained on site and provided for examination if so requested
  • Only dry seasoned firewood is permitted to be ignited
  • The bonfire must be limited in size so that it may be readily controlled
  • Maintain a minimum eight meters (25 feet) from any combustible buildings, structures, trees or overhead wires
  • Additional requirements are listed on the reverse side of the Open-air Fire Permit

What are the requirements for burning agricultural by-products?

The open-air fire permit is valid only if the adjacent area is included in the allocated Burn District as stipulated by local/provincial authorities, or otherwise approved by the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. Manitoba Agriculture must be contacted at 1-800-265-1233 for the status of permitted crop residue burning prior to any burning. For additional requirements, please see the reverse side of the Open-Air Fire Permit.

What are the requirements for burning brush, tree limbs, pruning material, or disposal of wood?

An Open-Air Fire Permit must be obtained.
The fire shall be maintained in an acceptable area that may require an inspection for suitability.
In the case of riverbank clean up or other requests for open air burning, every effort must be made to remove the debris from the site whenever possible and disposal made at an approved landfill site. If however, extenuating circumstances dictate that it be extremely difficult or onerous to remove the debris, it may be burned on site providing the following conditions are strictly adhered to.
  • The fire must be limited in size so as to be easily controllable by the person in charge
  • The fire must be under constant adult supervision at all times and all burning restricted to daylight hours
  • A portable fire extinguisher, garden hose connected to a water supply, or other acceptable means of extinguishment is kept on site
  • The fire is fully and completely extinguished before leaving the site
  • Should the fire become uncontrollable, contact the Fire Paramedic Service immediately by phoning 9-1-1

What about religious or ceremonial fires?

  • All fires set for religious or ceremonial purposes must be maintained in an "acceptable" receptacle as per the by-law unless the Permit authorizing the fire states otherwise
  • Be limited in size so that it may be readily controlled and any combustible materials kept a safe distance from the fire
  • Must never be left unattended until and unless fully extinguished
  • Be controllable by having a means of extinguishment on site such as a portable fire extinguisher

What about a warming fire?

A warming fire may be described as any fire set in a receptacle, usually a 45 gallon drum, for the purpose of temporarily warming a person's body, face and/or hands. Typically, such warming fire receptacles may be found at various locations such as workers' picket lines, outdoor skating rinks, winter carnivals, winter festivals, etc. Where an Open-Air Fire Permit authorizes an outdoor warming fire, the fire must:
  • Be set in a metal receptacle in good repair that has a maximum capacity of 225 litres (50 gallons) with all openings entirely covered by removable non-combustible spark arrestors, grills or mesh with openings no larger than 12mm (1/2 inch)
  • Be fuelled only by clean wood
  • Not be fuelled by garbage, rubber, plastic, painted or chemically treated wood.
  • Be maintained a minimum of 3 m (10 feet) from any combustible buildings or structures, combustible fences, trees and overhead wires
Open Air Fire Permit Information Brochure

Last update: August 11, 2016