It's always a good idea for some safety tips at this time of year for those hoping to enjoy a fire pit in their yard.

As Fire Chief Trent Lee with Weyburn Fire Services reminds us, every property needs to have a Fire License.

Read more HERE about the City's Bylaw.    

"Anyone that plans on having any open-air fire pit in their backyard on their property is required to have a permit, which is issued by the City through City Hall, and it's a one-time fee of $25 for that permit." 

Find the application HERE.

Lee said the bylaw has several requirements, beginning with the fire pit itself.

"Fires must be in a receptacle. You can't just have them in the ground surrounded by bricks. It must be in a solid receptacle with metal screen and openings not exceeding 13 millimeters, and the overall dimensions of such receptacles shall not exceed 82 centimeters in any direction or any dimension." 

He said a fire pit directly on the ground creates a hazard, whether or not you're using bricks. 

"We have lots of vegetation that grow on the ground, and tree limbs and branches tend to reach out in all directions underground, and a simple fire pit could cause the roots of a tree to smolder, and eventually, that smoldering fire will reach the tree and could possibly ignite the tree or other vegetation line around on the ground." 

Any outdoor fire pit or fireplace cannot be located closer than 3 metres to any combustible materials, porches, buildings, decks, or another kind of amenity space, noted Lee, and it's also required to be 3 meters from the property line. 

We should also stay a good metre's distance away from the fire, and a fire should always be under the care of an adult.

"We always want to be cognizant that we're in the right state of mind when we are having a fire pit, and enjoying our fire pit, because it only takes a quick second and things can go from fun to a bad time," he cautioned.

Let's not forget about overhead tree branches.

"Heat does rise, and the conduction of the heat rising from the fire will dry out the tree, and would kill branches and over time it could cause those branches to ignite," he explained. 

Lee said the best kindling is shredded paper.

"Any kind of paper out of the shredder works really well. There is a commercially available fire-starter on the market that works fantastic, and if you talk to any survivalists, they swear by potato chips."

He said that's because of the grease.

However, you can't just burn whatever you want to burn. Avoid using fire-starter or accelerants like dryer lint, leaves, or fresh tree branches, as these may create a nuisance for your neighbours.

"Burning lint and other materials like that could create smoke that is interfering with other people, especially if they have asthma or any other kind of ailment, that could interfere with their enjoyment of life in their backyard," Lee pointed out. "So we want to make sure that we're respecting everybody that is in our neighborhood as well."

What can you burn?

"All of our wood that we burn must be either seasoned cut wood, charcoal or briquettes, or wood that's manufactured for a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. We can't be burning any dead grass or leaves or dead branches off or trees." 

He said you can use twigs for kindling if they're dry, otherwise, it will smell unpleasant.

Putting out your fire at the end of the night, he noted, works best with a garden hose or a couple of buckets of water. Ideally, you can put a lid on your fire receptacle. 

"We want people to be able to enjoy their backyards and enjoy their firepits or hot dogs or marshmallows, and I just want to make sure that everyone respects their neighbours and follows the bylaws."