Fireworks are allowed in Saanich but only on Halloween night and only if the person setting them off has taken the certification course through the Saanich Fire Department. (Black Press Media file photo)

Fireworks are allowed in Saanich but only on Halloween night and only if the person setting them off has taken the certification course through the Saanich Fire Department. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich’s Halloween fireworks, bonfire permitting process moves online

Firefighter outlines COVID-19-friendly process as spooky celebrations approach

As Halloween creeps closer and pandemic-friendly plans fall into place, the Saanich Fire Department is reminding those hoping to host bonfires or fireworks displays to get their permits before Oct. 28.

Every October, the fire department sells permits to residents 18 and over. In a typical year, residents must first attend an in-person safety course that needs to be retaken every three years. This year, however, the fireworks safety course and exam are online.

READ ALSO: Trick or Treat? Experts divided on letting kids go out on Halloween due to COVID risk

Saanich firefighters want residents to “still have fun safely” amid the pandemic, said Capt. Carl Trepels of the department’s Fire Prevention Division. The department didn’t want to cancel yet another fun activity as so many events have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.

Applicants must complete the online course and email the certificate and an application to fireprevention@saanich.ca. Those who have already taken the course within the last three years can simply send in their application.

Fireworks permits are valid on Oct. 31 from 5 to 10 p.m.

READ ALSO: B.C. CDC releases Halloween tips for COVID-safe fall celebrations

Fireworks can only be lit in a safe, outdoor area, spectators must be at least 20 feet away, fireworks should be lit with a stick and “duds” must be left untouched for 30 minutes. Fireworks also cannot be bought or sold within Saanich and failure to follow the guidelines can lead to a fine of up to $500.

Halloween is also the only night of the year where fires are allowed in Saanich, Trepels said. Bonfire permits can also be obtained by email this year and are valid on Oct. 31 from 5 to 11 p.m. Non-permitted fires can result in a $100 ticket.

READ ALSO: Top 10 timely Halloween costumes: From Baby Yoda to Black Panther to ‘2020 Dumpster Fire’

Fire regulations are the same as every year, Trepels said. Bonfires should only be three feet in diameter and anything larger – up to six feet – must be inspected; the fire must be at least 25 feet from structures and property line; rakes, shovels and a garden hose should be on hand.

Permits cost $10, and are sold until 4 p.m. on Oct. 28 and must be picked up at Saanich Municipal Hall.

Hosts are responsible for adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols – including contact tracing, social distancing and limiting the number of attendees.


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