Saskatoon’s fire chief says handling complaints about backyard fire pits won’t slow down response times to other emergency calls.
On Monday, city council passed restrictions allowing fire pits to burn only between the hours of 2 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Anyone caught burning outside those times could face a $250 fine.
The rules, effective immediately, are being enforced by the Saskatoon Fire Department on a complaint-driven basis.
Following Monday’s decision, Ward 1 Coun. Darren Hill — who voted against the restrictions — raised concerns about how the added responsibility could impact response times to other incidents.
Fire Chief Morgan Hackl told 650 CKOM Tuesday — that’s simply not an issue.
“We would end that fire pit call, then go back to it after,” Hackl said.
“It wouldn’t be any different than if they were in the fire station, or if they were out doing a building inspection … even if they were at a community relations event.”
Hackle explained fire crews — wherever they are — have an 80-second window to get into their protective gear and head out to an emergency.
For a medical call, they have 60 seconds.
Hackle also responded to those questioning whether enforcing the new bylaw is a waste of time for fire crews.
He said since the department provides around the clock service, it’s just an added duty they can provide.
“We want to be able to utilize our staff that are working 24 hours a day,” he said.
The fire chief noted the only potential new cost is any extra diesel fuel needed to respond. However, that will depend on the volume of calls.
Hackl noted sometimes a fire crew will respond to incidents, while other times it’ll be a fire inspector.
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Vandenbreekel.