The United Townships of Head, Clara and Maria

Fire Prevention

Updated: 4 years ago - Created: January 6th, 2014

Make sure you and your home are ready for the summer season by doing the following:

  • Prune tree branches to a height of 1 or 2 metres
  • Store fire wood well away from the house
  • Remove trees within 10 metres of house
  • Thin trees (crowns don't touch) at least 30 metres from house
  • Ensure branches are clear of power lines (bury service if possible)
  • Remove brush, mow and water lawn
  • Ensure your 911 sign (civic address) is clearly visible for quick identification
  • Provide an additional emergency exit (if appropriate)
  • Provide a pond or cistern with emergency water supply
  • Utilize only a FireSmart ash pit or burning barrel
  • Ensure driveway is clear of trees to a distance of at least 3 or 4 metres
  • Ensure chimney is installed to code complete with spark arrestor screens
  • All soffit vents and gutters should be screened
  • Porches and balconies should be screened, crawl spaces encloses
  • Position propane tank with valve pointing away from house
  • Build with fire resistant exterior roof and walls
  • Install protective drapes and or shutters on windows to protect interior from radiant heat

Don't Be The Cause of a Wildfire

  • Chimneys - Chimneys should be constructed to meet current Ontario Building Code requirements and should be screened in with appropriate approved spark arrestors;
  • Burn barrels and Ash Pits - For safe disposal of woody debris you should consider chipping and composting or bringing it to a landfill site.  If you must burn, ensure that the burn barrel is at least 5 metres from any forest or woodlands, 2 metres from buildings or other combustible sources and that a 2 metre area around the barrel is cleared to mineral soil.  Burn barrels should have proper ventilation, screens and should never be left unattended.
  • Power Lines and Propane Tanks - Vegetation should be cleared well back from power lines, propane tanks and other fuel supplies.
  • Shovels and rakes - Every home should have shovels, rakes, axes, garden hoses, sprinklers and roof ladders to assist in suppressing wildfires.(compliments of "The Homeowners FireSmart Manual" Province of Ontario Publication)
  • For a copy of this and other safe burning manuals, please stop by the Municipal Office.


"Burning Grass and Debris Safely... (Province of Ontario Publication)

The Risks

If you live in or near a forested area, you have a lot to lose if a forest fire starts near your cottage or home.  Each year in Ontario, dozens of rural residents and cottagers damage forest lands and lose valuable buildings to fires that could have been prevented.  Nearly one third of these fires are caused by careless burning of household debris - over 200 fires per year.  Sometimes burning grass or brush is a necessary alternative to composting or chipping.  Just make sure you know the rules for outdoor fires and follow safe practices when you burn. 

Who Causes Fires In Ontario?

Among forest fires caused by people, an average of over 200 fires each year are caused by rural residents.