Burn Permits

Open air burning within the Municipality of Grey Highlands is regulated by an Open Air Burning By-law. A burn permit is required for all open air burning within the Municipality. Whether you are having a small backyard campfire or clearing your property of brush, a burn permit is required.

Burn permits are now available online

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Want to know the current Fire Hazard Index Rating?

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Open Air Burning Info

Fire Hazard Index Explanation

Click here for the current Fire Hazard Index Rating. 

Low Fire Rating

  • Open air burning permitted
  • Take normal precautions while burning
Moderate Fire Rating
  • Open air burning permitted
  • Take normal precautions while burning
  • Grasses, dry branches, etc.. may ignite and spread easily
High Fire Rating
  • Burning is permitted but exercise extreme caution 
  • Contact the Fire Department prior to igniting Open Air Burns (Brush fire on farms)
  • Grasses, dry branches, etc.. will ignite and spread easily
Extreme Fire Rating
  • No Open Air burning allowed (Brush fire on farms)
  • Campfires permitted but exercise extreme caution
Fire Ban 
  • Complete fire ban in effect, no burning permitted
Failure to Comply

A burn permit is required for all burning within the Municipality of Grey Highlands.

As required by the Ontario Fire Code, open-air burning is only permitted with approval from the Fire Chief which is granted in the form of an authorized burn permit obtained from the Municipality of Grey Highlands (By-law 2020-046).

Failure to obtain a burn permit could result in penalties under the authority of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 which states:

"An individual convicted of an offence is liable to, in the case of an offence for contravention of the fire code, a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both."

In the event the Fire Service respond to an open air burn conducted without a permit, or in violation of the conditions of the permit, the full costs of extinguishment apply and may be charged to the property owner and/or permit holder. These charges are at the discretion of the Chief Fire Official and are outlined in Schedule I of the Fees and Charges By-law (2012-63). Additional Set Fines are outlined in Schedule A of the Open Air Burning By-law 2020-046. 
 Campfire/Bonfire/Burn Barrel Permit

For a campfire/bonfire, the burn radius shall not exceed 1 meter in diameter, and shall be a minimum of 3 meters from any combustible surface, structure or vegetation. Where very young children (toddlers) are present, a barricade suitable to prevent them from reaching the fire or any hot surfaces shall be erected surrounding the fire area. For burn barrels, the materials shall be contained in a barrel with a capacity no greater than 205 litres.

Only clean dry wood may be burned. Pressure treated or glued wood fire products shall not be burned. Additional conditions can be found in the Open Air Burning By-law.

A permit in this category is available for a fee of $20.00 and is valid for one full year. The fee is also applicable for farm properties wishing to have a campfire/burn barrel/bonfire on their property.
 Agricultural/Non-Agricultural Burn Permits

Agricultural - This type of permit is intended for farmers to conduct controlled open air burning for the purposes of vegetation disposal, including brush and tree limbs on farmland or natural by-products, incidental to farming purposes.

Non-Agricultural - This type of permit is intended for non-agricultural residence (outside urban/ residential areas) and all burns not related to agriculture with a burn area larger than the 1 meter circumference that is permitted for a Campfire/Bonfire/Burn Barrel.

In addition to the conditions set out in the Open Air Burning By-law (2020-046) the permit holder must ensure compliance with the following:

  • Open Air Burning shall be conducted in daylight hours beginning not less than 30 minutes after sunrise and concluding 30 minutes after sun set.

  • A responsible adult is present and attends the fire at all times until fire is completely extinguished.

  • The permit holder shall ensure weather conditions are favorable to conduct the burn in a safe manner. Wind speeds are not to exceed 15 km/hour at any time during the burn. Adherence to all burn bans/restrictions declared by the Chief Fire Official is mandatory.

The permit holder shall ensure that the volume of materials burned at one time does not exceed a quantity that can be safely managed with on site extinguishment capabilities. Regardless of those capabilities, the maximum pile size shall not exceed 20 feet long x 20 feet wide x 6 feet high.

A permit in this category is valid for 3 weeks from approval date. The permit fee of $20.00 is waived for farming operations.

How Are Permit Applications Approved?

Campfire/Bonfire/Burn Barrel Permits are approved by automation without needing to wait.  


Applications for Agricultural and Non-Agricultural burns are reviewed by the Fire Prevention Division before being approved. Please allow 1 Business Day for approval. In some instances a site visit my be required. 

What if Someone Complains About My Burning? 

You won't be charged if you have a burn permit and follow Grey Highlands Open Air Burning By-law (2020-046).


However, if the smoke from your burn causes a nuisance for your neighbour, or vehicular traffic, you will be asked to put out your fire.


If you are not following the Open-Air Burning By-law, you will have to pay the fees for service (cost of trucks and personnel to respond to the burn complaint). You may also be charged under the By-law.

Report a Burn Complaint? 

Have a Burn Complaint?

- During Office Hours (Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm): contact Fire Enforcement: 519-986-1216 ext 227 or 

- Holidays / Afterhours: Depending on the severity either contact 9-1-1  ask for the Fire Department and explain the situation. 




By-law Enforcement: email or call the dispatch line at 1-226-910-1322


Burn complaints remain anonymous, but we may request contact information to follow up (for additional complaint information). 

Contact Us

© 2023 Municipality of Grey Highlands |
Office Location:
206 Toronto Street South Unit 1, Markdale |
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 409 Markdale, Ontario N0C 1H0

Office Hours:
Mon. to Fri. 8:30 am to 4:30 pm |
Toll Free: 1-888-342-4059 |
Fax: 519-986-3643 |