Permitting and inspection required for backyard barbecue fire pits

Permitting and inspection required for backyard barbecue fire pits

Residents can have a barbecue fire pit for food preparation only.

With winter officially just around the corner and the holidays quickly approaching, many Kimberley residents may be thinking about having a backyard fire to cook on and stay cozy by.

If you are thinking about purchasing or installing a fire pit in your backyard, be sure to first familiarize yourself with the City of Kimberley’s Barbecue Fire Pit Regulations.

The City regulates the installation and use of barbecue fire pits under schedule B of the Open Burning Bylaw #2364. Residents can have a barbecue fire pit for food preparation only.

Kimberley Fire Chief, Rick Prasad says that every backyard fire pit requires an annual permit, which are free and can be obtained through the fire department. Prior to issuing a permit, says Prasad, barbecue fire pits must be inspected by fire department personnel to ensure that it meets the bylaw requirements. A barbecue fire pit inspection form must be completed and submitted to the fire department and permits can take up to seven business days to obtain.

In 2017 so far, the City has had 20 applications for backyard fire pits and not all of them were approved. There have been 218 permits granted over the years.

Prasad also says that every year the Fire Department receives approximately 20 to 30 complaints about backyard fires, many of which end up with fines being issued.

“Fines start at $100.00 and escalate for various reasons,” said Prasad. “Fire pits can be revoked for major repeat infractions. Also, if smoke from your fire pit is creating a valid nuisance for your neighbours, you will be ordered to discontinue the use of the fire pit.”

As the bylaw states, “barbecue pits must be masonry, brick or steel (solid). Maximum dimensions are 18-inches high by 24-inches wide. Acceptable spark arrestors must be installed on top of the barbecue fire pit ring to stop any sparks from becoming airborne. There must be a minimum six-foot diameter non-combustible surface around and under the barbecue fire pit area (i.e. crushed rock, paving stones, concrete.) There must be a minimum 10-foot clearance from and structure or fence.”

With regards to commercially constructed fireplaces or chimneys, Prasad says permits are not often issued for these devices.

“Commercially constructed fireplaces and chimneys are not recommended unless they are permanently attached to solid ground, while following the other construction and placement requirements,” reads the guidelines. “Additionally, they bust be screened and configured in a way to allow for food preparation. It is recommended that the Fire Department be consulted prior to purchasing and installing any of these devices to ensure their suitability.”

The guidelines also state that barbecue pits can only be operated between the hours of 3:30p.m. and 11p.m. Only clean dry wood can be used, no yard waste or other materials.

If you rent or lease the home you live in, the fire department requires written confirmation from the homeowner giving you permission to use a bbq fire pit on the rented or leased property. The letter must also confirm that the owner has reviewed the rules and regulations related to the installation and use of the fire pit.

Permits expire annually on Dec. 31 at midnight. A reminder may be sent by email near expiration but it is important to know that the submission of a permit renewal request is your responsibility.

To request a permit or renewal, email or call 250.427.4114 on weekdays between 8a.m. and 4:30p.m.