A County of Newell Fire Permit is FREE of charge and MANDATORY to have if you plan on doing any burning.

The County of Newell Bylaw 1839-15, cited as the Fire Bylaw, regulates burning within the County of Newell boundaries. Sections 16 & 20 of this bylaw states, “No person shall light an Incinerator Fire, Outdoor Fire or a Structure Fire unless he/she is the holder of a subsisting Fire Permit if required under this Bylaw or the Forest and Prairie Protection Act, or both” and “No person shall light an Outdoor Fire, a Structure Fire an Incinerator Fire or a Recreational Fire Pit Fire without first taking sufficient precaution to ensure that the fire can be kept under control at all times or when the weather conditions are conducive to creating a Running Fire”. Failure to comply can result in fines as stated in Sections 23 and 24 of this Bylaw “Any person who fails to hold a subsisting Fire Permit, when one is required under this Bylaw, is guilty of an offense and is liable to a fine of $200.00 on a summary conviction for the first offense in any calendar year; to a fine of $400.00 on summary conviction for the second offense in any calendar year; and a fine of $600.00 on summary conviction for the third and each subsequent offense in any calendar year” and “A person who fails to comply with any provision contained in this Bylaw, except for failure to hold a subsisting Fire Permit which is otherwise provided for under Section 23 of this Bylaw, is guilty of an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $2,500.00.

The Forest and Prairie Protection Act provides for fines in the amount of $5,000.00 currently and proposed changes to this Act will provide for fines up to $100,000.00 for an individual and $1,000,000.00 for a Corporation.

Fire Permits can be obtained from a Fire Guardian. Fire Guardians are located at the County of Newell office and some of the local area Fire Chiefs. Your first choice should always be the County of Newell office which can be done in person or by calling 403-362-3266 . In future we hope to have on-line permits available. A Fire Guardian may impose other conditions upon the applicant or suspend or cancel a permit at any time. A Fire Permit needs to be countersigned by a Guardian before it is valid.

Burning Conditions are as follows with no exceptions:

  • Call your local Fire Department (the number will be listed on your permit) and 1-877-507-7011 (Fire Permit Line) before AND after burning.
  • Supervise the burn at all times and extinguish if conditions warrant.
  • Keep an adequate supply of water on site at all times. •No burning at night, all fires are to be completely extinguished prior to dark.
  • Smoke must not impede visibility on roadways.
  • No burning if winds exceed 15 km/hr, including gusts.

What You Can Not Burn

  • Animal waste
  • Rubber inc. Tires
  • Oil
  • Pathological waste
  • Plastic, inc. bailer twine
  • Pesticide/chemical pails
  • Wood products containing preservatives
  • Waste materials from construction sites
  • Plastic or rubber coated materials
  • Any waste that causes dense smoke, offensive odours or releases toxic substances


Wildfire Alberta

How to Estimate Wind Speed

0 – 1 km/h (Calm)                                   Smoke rises vertically; no visible wind

2 – 5 km/h (Light Air)                              Smoke drifts; no visible wind; direction of wind shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes

6 – 10 km/r (Light Breeze)                      Leaves rustle; weather vanes move; wind felt on face

11 – 19 km/h (Gentle Breeze)                 Light flags unfurl; leaves and twigs on trees move steadily

20 – 28 km/h (Moderate Breeze)            Small branches move; loose dust and paper fly about

29 – 38 km/h (Fresh Breeze)                  Leafy shrubs and trees sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters

39 – 49 km/h (Strong Breeze)                 Large branches in motion; whistling heard in overhead wires; umbrellas used with difficulty

50 – 61 km/h (Moderate Gale)                Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against wind

62 – 74 km/h (Fresh Gale)                      Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress

75 – 88 km/h (Strong Gale)                     Slight structural damage occurs (e.g. TV antennas and tiles)

89 – 100 km/h (Whole Gale)                    Trees uprooted; considerable structural damage



There are three levels of fire bans as designated in County of Newell Bylaw #1839-15:

  • A Fire Advisory – Fires are allowed but public warning advising of extreme caution is issued. This level is a warning and may be upgraded to a Fire Restriction or Fire Ban if conditions do not improve.
  • A Fire Restriction – No Fires except for approved gas or propane cooking appliances or portable propane fire pits or campfires in designated fire sites within approved campgrounds.
  • A Fire Ban – No Fires, except for approved gas or propane cooking appliances.


Fire Bans do not come out of the blue. When determining whether to declare a Fire Ban we look at levels of recent precipitation, future weather forecasts, water shortages or restrictions, availability of firefighting crews, equipment and apparatus, the overall fire danger including fire load and abundance of fuels, and fine fuel moisture content, the amount or increase in recent outside fires and recommendations from the local Fire Chiefs. Fire Bans are put on for the entire County of Newell, not just for certain areas. If there has been little to no moisture within the County of Newell as a whole and / or a Fire Advisory has been imposed and moisture conditions have not improved, you can expect a Fire Ban in the near future. The Ban will not be lifted just because of one moisture event. Overall conditions need to improve for the long range. When Fire Bans are implemented the general public is notified as follows:

  • "A Fire Ban" - Several Fire Ban in Effect signs are posted at entrances to the County of Newell; a news release is sent out to the local media outlets; Ads may be run in the local media; and a notification on the Alberta Fire Bans website is posted. Notification will also be posted on the County Web Site and perhaps other Social Media as well.
  • "A Fire Restriction" - Refer to "A Fire Ban" mentioned above.
  • "A Fire Advisory" - A news release is sent to the local media; ads may be run in the local media; and a notification on the Alberta Fire Bans website is posted. Notification will also be posted on the County Web Site and perhaps other Social Media as well.

When a "A Fire Ban" or a "A Fire Restriction" is implemented, all existing Fire Permits are immediately cancelled and no new permits will be issued during the life of the ban. All existing fires need to be immediately extinguished. Exceptions are not permitted. Once the Fire Ban is lifted, new permits can then be issued.

County of Newell Fire Bans do not affect the City of Brooks, Town of Bassano, Villages, Provincial Parks or First Nations Reserves located within the County. Hamlets and Municipal Parks located within the County of Newell are controlled within the Fire Bans.

Now you know, so burn safe, use a good neighbour policy and do not let your fire get out of hand as a fire can double in size every 30 seconds.

Small recreational backyard fire pits for burning of seasoned dry wood only are at this time exempt from the above permit regulations.

Keith R. Martin
Manager of Fire and Emergency Services
County of Newell