Fire is not without safety hazards. Although bonfires may seem safe, the smoke they produce contains more than 100 different toxic substances, including:
- fine particles
- carbon monoxide
- volatile organic compounds
- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- nitrogen oxides
- and other irritants
Some of these substances are known carcinogens. Others, such as fine particles with a diameter less than that of a hair, can deeply penetrate the lungs and have major repercussions on people's health.
Smoke can also cause immediate discomfort, such as irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, bronchial congestion and headaches. As well, smoke can aggravate the symptoms of many illnesses, affecting the health of persons with cardiovascular problems in addition to being a nuisance for neighbours.
Therefore, in light of the risks bonfires present, they are prohibited on the island of Montréal except under special circumstances.
Outdoor fires are prohibited across the Montréal agglomeration by several by-laws (bonfires, fireplaces, burning branches or green waste, burning garbage, burning construction debris, garden fires, etc.) However, special authorization may be given for temporary activities involving fire outdoors. For such activities, you must apply for a permit.
Please note that domestic use of a certified appliance such as a barbecue, a patio heater or similar appliances do not require a permit.
Montréal's fire department oversees the use of fire at special events and public gatherings within the Montréal agglomeration. The following activities and related activities are prohibited without prior authorization:
- bonfires, outdoor fireplaces, garden fires, pyres and other outdoor fires
- firworks that use pyrotechnics
- processions using fire, flames or pyrotechnics
- artistic performances using fire, flames or pyrotechnics
- visual effects using fire, flames or pyrotechnics at shows, performances, film shoots or other productions
For information about applying for authorization for such activities, refer to the Events and Special Effects sections. Please note that permits are not required domestic use of certified appliances such as barbecues, patio heaters and similar appliances, although you should take care to use such appliances safely.
Commercial and industrial activities
The city's environmental department oversees commercial and industrial activities that could emit pollutants into the atmosphere and ensures that emissions from various sources, including outdoor fires, comply with air cleanliness regulations for the entire Montréal agglomeration. For information about obtaining a permit for industrial or commercial activities or to make a complaint about activities or facilities that emit particles or pollutants into the air, call 514-280-4330 or visit the Environment section on the city's Web site (in French).