It may be a wet and gloomy day, but Hantsport’s fire chief says that doesn’t mean it’s safe to light a fire outdoors.
Following a mid-morning structure fire April 24, Peter Johnston is advising residents to always double check provincial burning bans and follow municipal bylaws when it comes to backyard fires.
Johnston, who also serves as the director of public works for West Hants, was alerted to the fire in Mount Denson around 10:45 a.m.
“I had a call from residents in the area saying there was a large fire here. So, I came over and looked and found it was a building,” said Johnston, noting upwards of 20 Hantsport and Windsor firefighters then responded to the scene to extinguish the fire.
“I don’t know what part of the structure was actually standing when they lit it,” said the chief, noting the municipality’s bylaw officer was also called to the scene.
Johnston said it’s important for people to seek proper permits when looking to burn down accessory buildings. He also noted that only specific items are allowed to be burned.
“It’s the environmental side of it. You can only burn lumber –—clean lumber; not tires and stuff like that,” said Johnston.
Around noon, Hantsport firefighters were still overhauling a pile of debris on the property. Tires and barrels could be seen surrounding the area.
It is unknown at this time if there will be any fines or charges laid in relation to the fire. Chrystal Remme, the communications co-ordinator for the Municipality of West Hants, said the bylaw enforcement officer, Ryan Parker, is unable to comment at this time as it is still an active investigation.
“Residents wishing to demolish a structure should obtain a demolition permit from the municipality and properly dispose of the items at an approved landfill, set the items curbside or properly recycle the materials,” Remme said in an email statement.
If residents are unsure of how to properly dispose of an item, they are advised to contact the waste reduction coordinator, Christine McClare, at email@example.com or at 902-798-8391 ext. 128.
Remme also noted that burning designated material, such as tires, used oil, railway ties or other wood treated with wood preservatives, rubber, plastic, painted wood, garbage and food products, is prohibited under the West Hants Fire Protection Bylaw.
Aside from seeking permits from the municipality, between March 15 to Oct. 15, Nova Scotians must also adhere to the provincial burning restrictions for all domestic brush burning and campfires. Burning was not permitted April 24 until after 2 p.m. For burning restrictions by county, call the toll-free phone line for a recorded message that is updated daily — 1-855-564-2876 (BURN) — or visit https://novascotia.ca/burnsafe/.