Update on temporary burn permits from Haldimand County Fire Department

At the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, Haldimand County developed an interim process for rural landowners to obtain temporary burn permits. As Haldimand County gradually re-opens, the Fire Department is advising residents of the following:

  • No-cost, temporary, non-recreational burn permits will continue to be offered until July 10, 2020. To obtain a permit, residents must call the Fire Department at 905-318-5932 ext. 6230 or 6224 to set up an appointment and arrange for pickup.
  • All temporary burn permits issued will remain valid until August 31, 2020. After August 31 anyone who does not currently have a valid permit will be required to purchase one, including temporary permit holders as they will no longer be valid.
  • As of September 1, 2020, burn permits will be offered as they were prior to the pandemic – in-person at the Haldimand County Administration Building.

Anyone who conducts a non-recreational burn between July 10 and August 31 and does not have a permit can be charged under the open-air burning by-law.

Interim burn permits are only available at the Emergency Services Headquarters at 11 Thorburn St, S (Cayuga) with a prior phone call completed and an appointment time scheduled. Due to COVID-19 public health requirements, no walk-ins will be allowed without a pre-arranged appointment.

The Haldimand County Fire Department encourages all residents to practice fire safety, comply with the open-air burn by-law, be aware of risks and have protection measures in place when conducting an open-air fire. Many resources are available on the Fire Prevention page of HaldimandCounty.ca, including activity books for children.

Haldimand County Fire Department Urges Residents To Follow Open-Air Burn By-Laws Following Increase In Complaints/Violations

Haldimand County Fire Department is urging the public to practice fire safety and comply with the municipal open air burning by-law following an increase in calls and complaints about unsafe fires.

“As Haldimand County moves into Stage 2 of Ontario’s re-opening plan, there are more opportunities to gather and enjoy recreational pursuits outdoors. Campfires are a quintessential part of summer for many, but it’s crucial that they comply with the Open Air Burning By-Law,” said Jason Gallagher, Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief. “COVID-19 has placed added pressure on emergency services and we need the public’s cooperation to prevent these avoidable fire calls,” he added.

Recreational fires (e.g. campfires) are allowed in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations set out in the Open Air Burn By-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained and supervised at all times and that it is set back at least 10 meters from combustible buildings/structures. A means of extinguishing the fire must be available and measures must be in place to ensure that no one is adversely affected by the products of combustion (smoke and odours).

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in certain areas of the County and require a burn permit. Currently, interim burn permits are available for rural residents at no cost and may be obtained by contacting the Haldimand County Fire Department (905-318-5932). Interim burn permits are available by appointment only, as all County facilities are temporarily closed to the public.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone conducting an open air fire that violates the by-law are subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

Anyone with questions about fire safety or the open-air burning by-law is encouraged to contact the Haldimand County Fire Department at 905-318-5932. A number of helpful resources, including a Safe Fire Guide, is available at HaldimandCounty.ca.

Haldimand County Reminding Residents Of All-Terrain And Off-Road Vehicle Use Rules

Haldimand County is reminding the public that all-terrain & off-road vehicles are NOT permitted to be ridden on municipal roadways or County-owned property (e.g. public trails or parks).

As outlined in the Province of Ontario’s Off-Road Vehicles Act, certain types of ATVS and ORVs are permitted to travel on roadways ONLY if a municipality has a by-law permitting on-road ATV/ORV use. Currently, Haldimand County DOES NOT have a by-law permitting on-road ATV/ORV use and as such, on-road driving of ATVs/ORVs is prohibited.

As outlined in the County’s Parks & Facilities by-law, motorized recreational vehicles of any kind – meaning snowmobiles, go-carts, ATVS/ORVs or any vehicle propelled or driven by an internal combustion engine – are prohibited from traveling in any public park or County-maintained trail.

Individuals who witness the illegal operation of ATVs/ORVs are encouraged to contact Haldimand County By-Law or the Ontario Provincial Police. Anyone who is found to be in violation of the Off-Road Vehicles Act by driving the off-road vehicle on or across a highway is subject to a fine of $300, and subject to a minimum of $125 or a maximum fine of $50,000 for riding on County property.

Driving ATVs/ORVs on County roadways and public spaces poses a threat to community safety and can cause significant damage to property. Haldimand County appreciates the public’s cooperation in complying with the above-mentioned regulations and completing due diligence with respect to finding an appropriate, legal space to ride.

Haldimand County To Offer Interim Burn Permits For Rural Landowners

Haldimand County has developed an interim process for rural landowners who wish to obtain burn permits. Starting May 6, 2020, no-cost, temporary, non-recreational burn permits will be available to rural residents. Permits will be valid only during the pandemic situation.

Once regular operations resume, all temporary, non-recreational burn permits will be VOID and the existing burn permit process will take effect. At this time, anyone wishing to conduct non-recreational burns will be required to purchase a permit for the remainder of the year.

To obtain a temporary, non-recreational burn permit:

Contact Haldimand County Emergency Services Staff  at 905-318-5932 ext. 6230 or 6224 to arrange an appointment time. During this phone call you will be asked to provide:

1) Your name;

2) Your address;

3) Whether you are the owner or tenant of the property;

If you are the tenant, an authorization form from the owner is required to complete the permit approval process. The form is available on the Fire Safety web page. Please bring this completed document to your scheduled appointment time.

4) What items you wish to burn.

You will be given an appointment time for you to attend to pick up your permit.

When you arrive for your appointment at the Cayuga Emergency Services Headquarters (11 Thorburn St. S, Cayuga), you will be asked to:

1) Show identification that you are a Haldimand County resident;

2) Provide the authorization form from the owner (if required), should you be a tenant of the property;

3) Review the permit information and rules and regulations;

4) Sign the permit.

You will be given a copy of the completed permit to have readily available during the burn.

This interim burn permit service is only available at the Emergency Services Headquarters at 11 Thorburn St, S (Cayuga) with a prior phone call completed and an appointment time scheduled. Due to COVID-19 public health requirements, no walk-ins will be allowed without a pre-arranged appointment.

Residents are asked to be aware of and comply with all of the rules and regulations associated with Open Air Fires under the By-law No. 1662/16. Individuals who are found to be in violation of the by-law could be subject to penalties and/or fines.

More information on fire safety is available on the Haldimand County Emergency Services web page.

Haldimand County Emergency Services Issues Important Reminders Ahead of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 3-9, 2020)

Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week) is an annual, nationwide event that encourages Canadians to be proactive in planning for potential emergencies. This year, EP week runs from May 3 to 9, 2020. Haldimand County Emergency Services is encouraging all residents to spend some time creating a family emergency plan and assembling a 72-hour emergency kit.

“Emergencies and disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. We’ve seen this firsthand with the emergence of COVID-19,” said Don Otterman, Deputy Chief, Paramedic Services. “Emergencies aren’t always environmental and can take many forms. In order to be prepared, every resident should have a plan and an emergency kit ready to take care of themselves and their family for at least 72 hours,” he added.

72-hour kits should include a variety of items including: a flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, water, a sewing kit, copies of important IDs (e.g: birth certificates), medications, towels, rope and garbage bags among other necessities.

Otterman emphasized the importance of including children in emergency readiness discussions and planning, so they know what to expect should a dire situation arise. “With ample time at home these days, there’s no better time to sit down with your whole family, make a plan and assemble a kit. You can even turn it into a fun activity and allow kids to be active participants in planning,” he added.

For an emergency plan to be successful, every family member should have a role and know what to do. Parents are encouraged to utilize Haldimand County’s activity books to educate their children on what to do and how to stay calm in case of an emergency. Family pets should also be considered when making preparations.

Staying connected and informed is another important part of emergency preparedness. Knowing where to look for information and updates throughout an emergency situation is critically important. In addition to local radio – specifically 92.9 The Grand FM, the County’s emergency broadcast partner – residents should monitor local news outlets, the County website and County social media accounts (Facebook & Twitter). Specific instructions and timely updates from emergency officials (e.g: evacuation information) will be shared through these channels.

Emergency preparedness resources – including a 72 hour kit and evacuation checklist – are available on the Haldimand County website and GetPrepared.gc.ca. Anyone with questions related to emergency preparedness may also call Haldimand County Emergency Services at 905-318-5932.

Haldimand County Fire Department Asks For Public Cooperation With Open Air Fire Burning By-Law

With a return to warm weather there has been an increase in the number of recreational and non-recreational fires occurring throughout Haldimand County. So far this year several of the fires have been found to violate Haldimand County’s Open Air Fire Burn By-law. As a result, several Notice of Violations have already been issued.

With the warmer weather upon us and in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Haldimand County Fire Department is asking for the public’s co-operation in complying with these by-laws, which are in place to ensure fires remain safe and controlled.

Recreational fires are allowed in all areas without a permit provided the fire meets all of the regulations set out in By-law 1662-16. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained; that it is set back at least 10 meters from all combustible structures/objects and 4m from any property line; that the fire is supervised at all times and that smoke produced from the recreational fire has no adverse affects. Favourable weather conditions must also be present in order to have a recreational fire: there must be no fog, no air quality alerts, no burn bans & winds must be less than 20 km/hr.

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in rural areas of the County and require a burn permit. Non-recreational fires must meet all of the regulations set out in By-law 1662-16. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring fires are supervised at all times; contained to an area not exceeding 6 meters by 6 meters and is set back at least 60 meters from all combustible structures/objects. Residents who have burn permits may conduct burns as long as they are following the by-laws. No new burn permits are being issued at this time.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone found conducting an open air fire without a current permit are subject to enforcement, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

The by-law and further information on open air burning can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca.

Fire Chief Reminds Residents To Be Fire Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Haldimand County Fire Department is urging everyone not to forget about fire safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As people find themselves spending more time at home for work, self-isolation, or practicing physical distancing, they should remember the importance of preventing home fires.

Along with other essential services, the fire department has had to implement safeguards and physical distancing protocols in the workplace. Residents of Haldimand County are advised of the following changes to fire department services during the COVID-19 pandemic response:

 

  • Haldimand County Fire Department is only responding to critical medical calls during the pandemic, in order to keep our firefighters safe and able to respond to other significant emergencies (ex. fires, MVCs, and rescues).
  • Response times should not be affected, however, Fire Dispatch is required to ask mandatory COVID-19 screening questions to relay to responding firefighters.
  • If residents are concerned about open air fires in their area, they should call 911 and the fire department will respond. If the burn is outside of the regulations of the burn by-law or there is no burn permit, charges could be laid. All other complaints are to be made through the County’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 905-318-5932.
  • All Fire Stations and Headquarters are closed to the public.

Fire Chief Jason Gallagher is also urging the public to remain vigilant in the ongoing battle to prevent unintentional fires and injuries by practicing fire prevention and fire safety during these extraordinary times. “Regardless of the circumstances, additional time at home with family members provides an excellent opportunity to discuss fire safety and review your home fire escape plan,” says Gallagher.

Here are some simple things that people can do to protect themselves and their families:

 

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms using the test button. If the alarm fails to sound, check and replace batteries if necessary. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the alarms.
  • Develop or review your home fire escape plan to make sure everyone in the household knows what to do if a fire occurs. Make sure to designate someone to help older adults, children, and anyone else who may need help to escape.
  • Use care when using and recharging electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. Check electrical cords and charge cables to ensure they are in good condition. Don’t overload electrical circuits. Avoid placing electronics on soft surfaces like beds or upholstered furniture when recharging to avoid the risk of overheating.

As the Haldimand County Fire Department continues to do their best to keep the community safe under these extraordinary circumstances, it is imperative that the public does all that they can to practice fire safety in the home and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

For more information about fire safety, contact Haldimand County Fire Department or visit the County’s fire safety website at https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/fire-services/.

Flood Watch in effect for Lake Erie shoreline

The Long Point Region Conservation Authority has issued a Flood Watch for the Lake Erie shoreline. Strong winds and high waves are expected to cause flooding in very low-lying areas along the shoreline beginning Thursday morning and continuing into Friday.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is forecasting sustained strong southwest and west winds ranging from 40 to 50 km/hr, and gusts in excess of 60 km/h Thursday morning continuing into Friday. Forecast models are currently forecasting water levels to remain elevated from Thursday morning until Friday morning.

With the forecasted winds, flooding is expected to impact very low-lying areas of the Lake Erie shoreline and lower reaches of some tributaries. People are urged to use caution or stay away from Lake Erie shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring lake conditions. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updated flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This Flood Watch is in effect until noon on Friday, April 10, 2020.

Haldimand County Fire Department Provides Update On Burn Permits During COVID-19 Situation

Haldimand County Fire Department is advising residents that open-air burning may continue while the COVID-19 situation unfolds, as long as a proper permit has been acquired and open-air fire burning by-laws are followed. No new burn permits will be issued until further notice due to the closure of the Haldimand County Administration Building, however, staff are working to develop an online permit application and processing tool.

Residents with non-recreational open-air burn permits are reminded that:

– Burns must be conducted between sunrise and sunset
– Burns must be confined to an area which is at least 60m from any buildings, highway, road or wooded area
– The burn area must not exceed 6m x 6m
– Smoke must not have a negative impact on the visibility of motorists or neighbours
– Favourable weather conditions must be present: no fog, no air quality alerts, no burn bans, winds less than 20 km/hr
– The fire must be attended, controlled and supervised at all times
– The fire must be completely extinguished before the site is vacated

An Open-Air Burn Guide & other fire safety resources are available at HaldimandCounty.ca/fire-services/.

For local information about the COVID-19 pandemic – including facility closures, program cancellations, municipal service options & other key details, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/covid-19/.

Flood Warning issued for Lake Erie shoreline, residents advised to avoid unnecessary travel

A Flood Warning has been issued for areas along the Lake Erie shoreline, along the Grand River downstream of Dunnville Dam & Port Maitland. Strong southwesterly winds gusting to near 100 km/h will develop suddenly early this evening as a sharp cold front blasts through, causing high waves and hazardous conditions.

This event is particularly a concern due to the snow currently falling and predicted, as well as the cold temperatures. Visibility could be an issue, as well as icy road conditions, plus ice buildup on homes/cottages along the lakeshore.

“Residents should stay indoors and not travel unless absolutely necessary during this winter storm event,” said Haldimand County Fire Chief & Manager of Emergency Services Jason Gallagher. Gallagher noted that the Port Maitland Pier has been closed and members of the public should stay clear of all shoreline areas. Haldimand County Emergency Services & Public Works Operations crews are standing by to implement road closures and respond as necessary.

The MNRF’s surge model forecast for the eastern end of Lake Erie is indicating a rise in levels of 2.34 metres (7.7 feet) above chart datum of 173.5 m IGLD85 at the gauge in Port Colborne. The peak above critical level is forecast to occur around midnight Sunday morning.

 

The MNRF forecast is predicting the following in the vicinity of Port Maitland:

Lake Erie current elevation at Port Maitland:        174.85 m (IGLD 1985)

Lake Erie estimated to peak at:                               175.84 m (IGLD 1985), excluding waves

Lake Erie Expected time of peak:                           Sunday, January 19 (midnight)

Critical Level:                                                            175.5 m (IGLD 1985)

Forecast (estimated) Peak Lake Level:                  0.34 m above the critical level, excluding waves

Area of Impact:                                                         Zone 2 flood zone along Lake Erie Shoreline

While some uncertainty remains in the height of the Lake Erie surge, forecasts indicate a risk for flooding along the Lake Erie shoreline and Grand River downstream of Dunnville Dam. Waves of up to 1.8 m are expected to accompany this surge event.

This flood message is in effect until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, 2020 and will be updated as needed.

Information related to flooding hazards and emergency preparedness – including 72-hour emergency kit preparation – is available at https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/floods.

Current road closures

– Port Maitland Pier & esplanade closed

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