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Backyard Fires, Food Smokers, and Barbecue Basics

Everything you need to know about City Bylaws, Rules and Regulations to have a Fire Safe Summer.

Richmond Public Parks

If you plan to have a family barbecue in a Richmond Public Park, there are rules and regulations you must follow to ensure no accidents or fires accidentally arise.  

As per bylaw 2.7.3, Barbecues are NOT permitted in any Richmond public park at any time unless they are used in designated areas with officially posted signage. 

Public Parks Bylaw 2.7.3 – A person must not light or operate any barbeque or fire in any public park or school ground:

(a) when a fire ban is in effect;

(b) in a bog or wetland area; or

(c) in an environmentally sensitive area.

Bylaw 2.7.4 – In addition to Section 2.7.3, a person must not light or operate:

(a) an open flame or wood stove, camp stove or barbeque pursuant to the Fire Protection and Life Safety Bylaw No. 8306, as amended or replaced from time to time;

(b) charcoal stove, camp stove or barbeque; or

(c) a natural gas or propane fuelled camp stove or barbeque:

  1. (i) in an area not designated for such activity:
  2. (ii) in an enclosed space or facility;
  3. (iii) on an artificial or synthetic playing surface; or
  4. (iv) on a dock or pier;

in any public park or school ground.

Backyard Barbecues, Food Smokers, and Open Flames

It’s all about the Embers

The City Bylaws regarding backyard barbecues are not the same; they fall under the Fire Protection Bylaw 8306, which indicates you require a permit for any Open Burning within the City of Richmond unless it’s for the purpose of cooking food or smoking food.

When we think about wildfires, we generally envision huge walls of flames engulfing homes. However, the reality is that most homes do not ignite from direct contact with a flame. It’s estimated that 90% of homes destroyed by wildfires are caused by wind-borne embers from nearby fires.

Richmond Fire-Rescue wants to remind you to be highly cautious if your backyard fire is releasing embers into the air.

These embers are extremely dangerous and could induce catastrophic fires in your trees, bushes, and home.

Open-air burning, cooking, and food smokers are only permitted in Richmond when using approved certified appliances AND ONLY if the fuel source is EITHER natural gas, charcoal, or propane. The use of wood, wood chips, or any material not listed above that produces smoke or releases embers, is not allowed.

An outdoor heater, fireplace, barbeque, or other devices with open flames also fall under these restrictions.

Bylaw 4.1.1 – Every person must obtain a permit issued by Richmond Fire-Rescue to do any of the following:

(f) light, ignite, start or burn, or cause, suffer or allow to be lighted, ignited, started or burned, any fire in the open air or within any portable incinerator, chiminea or other portable appliance or device for any purpose unless expressly exempted under Section 4.5.1 of this Bylaw;

If the Open Burning is in your yard or on your property and done for the purpose of cooking or smoking food, then a permit is NOT required and falls under 4.5.1 of the bylaw.

Bylaw 4.5.1 – No permit is required for open air burning:

(a) within a natural gas, charcoal, or propane fuelled outdoor heater, outdoor fireplace, barbeque or other appliance designed and used for the cooking of food;

For more information on any of these bylaws, backyards rules and regulations or barbecues, contact us HERE.