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April 20, 2011
For immediate release

Grass fires can be dangerous; Ministers urge caution

Environment, Energy & Forestry

With the anticipated sunny and warm weather this weekend, Islanders should use extreme care if burning grass, tree parts or any vegetation and obtain the appropriate burning permit for a controlled fire.

“Grass fires can spread quickly and endanger homes, property and the lives of both residents and fire fighters,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Doug Currie. “Last year, Island fire fighters responded to 23 grass and brush fires that burned out of control over the Easter weekend and, in two of those instances, nearby buildings were lost.”

“Even a controlled burn can spread in different directions because of a shift in wind direction or speed and create a dangerous situation,” said Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister Richard Brown. “Under windy conditions, a grass fire can quickly become fast-moving and outrun a person.”

It is against the law to burn grass, brush, tree parts or any other vegetation without a burning permit. A permit is also required for burning to clear land. As well, the landowner is responsible to notify the local fire department of the time and place for the proposed fire, and to have enough people and equipment to control the fire. These regulations apply to burning sites outside towns and cities. Residents of towns and cities should contact their municipal office to ensure they follow their local bylaws on burning.

Almost all of the province’s firefighters are volunteers. They spend many hours each year responding to various emergency situations.

“On behalf of government, I would like to recognize and thank all the volunteer firefighters and forestry firefighters who are responsible for responding to wildfires,” said Minister Brown.

There is no charge for a burning permit, but it must be obtained directly from a Forest Service Officer in Wellington (854-7260), Charlottetown (Beach Grove Road, 368-4800 or Upton Road, 368-4700), or Southampton (961-7296).

As well, a special permit must be obtained from the Fire Marshal's Office before burning an old building or parts of an old building. For more information call 368-4869 or go to

Burning household waste, manufactured products or hazardous waste is prohibited by the PEI Air Quality Regulations.

Media Contact: Kim Devine
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