Effective immediately, a total fire ban has been issued in Aurora and Newmarket and will be issued across York Region by local Fire Chiefs. This ban is necessary given the current forest fires in Ontario and Quebec, the hot and dry conditions which can cause fire to spread fast and the deteriorating air-quality.
"Due to current weather patterns and no significant rain in the foreseeable future, we need to take steps to avoid large fires," says Ian Laing, Central York Fire Services (CYFS) Fire Chief and the York Region Fire Coordinator. "Every fire decreases our air quality. By banning recreational fires we're doing what we can to protect those in our community and limit contributing to the poor air quality."
The Fire Chiefs of York Region are working together to monitor the situation and the ban will be in effect until conditions improve.
Burning of any kind is not permitted within Aurora and Newmarket while the fire ban is active. This ban has been issued for the protection of property, public safety and the safety of the firefighters that would have to respond to an incident.
Residents may still use a barbeque or other approved cooking appliances with caution.
CYFS asks residents to exercise extreme caution during a fire ban:
- be careful with anything that could start a fire (including citronella candles on the deck)
- watch your propane or gas equipment carefully
- make sure all matches or cigarettes are out before disposing of them (do not flick butts out the window while driving)
The current Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for Newmarket is set at high risk. Based on this level, the province recommends residents to consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation. At risk residents, such as children and the elderly should take extra caution with outdoor activities.
When air quality is poor, York Region Public Health recommends residents:
- Check on people in your care and those around you who may be more susceptible to smoke.
- If you have an HVAC system in your home, set the fan to recirculate the air constantly and keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable.
On behalf of Central York Fire Services and fire departments across the region – thank you for doing your part to keep fires from spreading.
CYFS will extinguish any recreational fires they are called to; however, a fine of $465 may be issued for repeat offenders to cover the cost of responding to the incident.
Further details about the outdoor burning by-law in Newmarket and Aurora are available at cyfs.ca/outdoorburning