Check bylaws before purchasing outdoor fireplaces

The Penticton Fire Department is reminding residents to double check purchases of any outdoor fireplaces against the local bylaws.

"When the City experiences warmer temperatures, a lot more people use their outdoor spaces," said Chief Wayne Williams. "We recommend citizens be aware of the requirements around outdoor fireplaces to alleviate any problems down the road."

According to the Fire and Life Safety Bylaw, people must apply to have a permanent outdoor fireplace, and include in the application information like the location and design of the fireplace.

Outdoor fireplaces must be inspected by the Penticton Fire Department, and this process costs $29.40. Fireplaces are permitted to burn only dry, well-seasoned fire wood, be permanently secured to the ground, have a chimney with a one-centimetre spark arrestor, must be placed more than three metres from combustibles and property lines and have a fire box no larger than 24 square inches.

Once the fireplace is inspected, the Penticton Fire Department encourages safe burning practices: burn only dry, well-seasoned wood, commercial fire logs or briquettes; never leave a fire unattended; be aware of the safety of children and pets; keep the fire small and watch for sparks; have a fire extinguisher or hose handy; and be considerate of neighbours.

For safety reasons, permanent or portable fireplaces or barbecues that do not meet the regulations listed above can only be used for the preparation of food, and must use briquettes, propane or natural gas. Site inspections are not required in this instance, but safe burning practices are encouraged at all times.

It is also recommended that residents check with the Penticton Fire Department about fire bans by calling 250-490-2305.