Muskoka To-DAILY

Gravenhurst issues $3,000 in fines for illegal burning while issuing warning about cost for calls

GRAVENHURST — Spring cleanup doesn’t mean burning the leaves you failed to rake up last fall.

Town issues fines of $500 and $2,500 this year for illegal burning.

Town issues fines of $500 and $2,500 this year for illegal burning.

Town officials here remind you that that small fire in your backyard to burn up some yard waste and branches may cost you a lot more than you think, especially if you’re not following local bylaw regulations or the fire spreads and gets out of control, necessitating a 911 call to the fire department to rush over.

Fire Chief Larry Brassard says: “Several years ago, the town implemented a cost recovery process for situations where our firefighters have to respond to incidents that occur when people choose to ignore local burning by-laws, and these costs can be quite high.

“So far this year, alone, we’ve sent bills of between $500 and $2,500 to three different property owners because they weren’t following the town’s restrictions on open air burning,” he said this week.

A prolonged fire extinguishment effort could easily be much more costly if the fire spreads to fields or forested areas as these incidents are invoiced by the hour and according to how many fire vehicles respond.

Brassard adds: “It’s important to understand that we do not invoice for your average car fire or kitchen fire, these are services we all pay taxes for, but when people cause fires when they’ve chosen to disregard local laws, this is when the cost recovery process is initiated.”

These fees for service are separate from charges that property owners could face under the by-law itself.

“People who contravene the by-law are subject to a $250 ticket in many cases,” says Dustin Gronc, manager of by-law enforcement for Gravenhurst.

Bylaw officials will respond to investigate complaints regarding the by-law, but when a fire gets out of control and an emergency occurs, the fire department will respond to extinguish the fire.

A common complaint is daytime burning which is prohibited in Gravenhurst under the local bylaw.

The costs for a fire response are based on an hourly rate of approximately $460 an hour per truck plus the wages of attending firefighters, so it doesn’t take very long for the costs of a three or four truck response to build up.

The town's small pickup truck is ready to tackle small brush fires on back roads that are difficult to send larger trucks out on.

The town’s small pickup truck is ready to tackle small brush fires on back roads that are difficult to send larger trucks out on.

Brassard also points out in his release that property owners are billed, not necessarily the occupants, so persons that rent out their cottages for example need to be diligent about making sure tenants know the law and what is permitted and not permitted as well.

“We live in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada and with that comes a responsibility to follow the laws that municipalities have put in place for the protection of all. Those who make the conscious choice not to follow those laws are taking a risk or chance, a chance that mother nature won’t carry an ember too far, or that they won’t get caught – it’s not a risk we recommend people take,” said the Chief.

For more information on the burning control by-law, please contact Gronc, manager of bylaw enforcement at 705-687-3412 Ext.266 or chief Brassard at 705-687- 3414.

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Posted by on Apr 29 2017. Filed under Headlines, OPP. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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