Modern Mississauga Presents Ask The City - Is it legal to have a small bonfire in my backyard?


Modern Mississauga and the City of Mississauga have come together to present an ongoing series called “Ask The City.”
We’ll share relevant information here and answer your questions about our city.

Today’s question deals with backyard bonfires and open air burning.  

Is it legal to have a small bonfire in my backyard?

As the leaves start to fall and the cool autumn air returns, it is understandable that people are starting to think about keeping warm around a fire.  But before you start inviting friends over to roast marshmallows, it is important to understand the rules Mississauga has in place regarding open air burning. 

According to Mississauga’s Open Air Burning By-Law, opening air burning is not permitted unless a permit has been issued by the Fire Chief. 
However, there are exceptions. You can use an outdoor fireplace such as a chiminea, without a permit between sunrise and 11 p.m. using the following criteria:

•    it is located at a distance of not less than five (5) meters between the fireplace and any building, structure, property line, tree, hedge, fence, roadway, overhead wire or other combustible article; 
•    it is located on a non-combustible surface extending beyond the unit to a dimension equal to the height of the unit;
•    it does not create a nuisance;
•    a portable fire extinguisher or operable garden hose is available while the unit is in operation; and
•    the owner maintains constant watch and control over the outdoor fireplace from the time of the setting of the fire until the fire is totally extinguished.

Cooking fires are also permitted under certain circumstances. Residents choosing to cook outdoors should become familiar with both the Open Air Burning By-Law and the Ontario Fire Code which includes all the guidelines for outdoor cooking. 

As part of a review of the Open Air Burning By-Law, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) conducted a survey with residents over the past several months to understand their thoughts and concerns about open air burning. The discussion on this By-Law will continue with City Council later this year. 

For up-to-date information on what types of open air fires are and aren’t allowed on private property, residents can call the MFES Fire Prevention Office at 905-896-5908 or email

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