Do I need a fireworks permit?
The sale and use of fireworks is regulated within Strathcona County by three acts of legislation, including the Alberta Fire Code and federal law. A fireworks permit is required if you wish to sell, purchase or set off fireworks in Strathcona County.
The Fire Prevention division issues permits for all pyrotechnics, including consumer and display fireworks, special effects for movies, and for open flames in public places.
Consumer fireworks may only be discharged on private rural lands.
Applicants must be at least 18 years, the legal landowner, or have written permission from the legal landowner to obtain a fireworks permit.
While there is no charge for obtaining a fireworks permit, there are penalties for discharging without one or for being in violation of a fireworks permit regulation.
Where do I get a fireworks permit?
Applications for fireworks permits must be made in person at Fire Station 6, 915 Bison Way, Sherwood Park, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays).
Fireworks permit holders are required to call the Burn Status Line at 780-464-8464 or text the word "BURN" to 587-340-3696 immedately before discharge to ensure that burning is allowed at that time.
Frequently asked fireworks questions:
1. Do I need a fireworks permit?
All fireworks displays within Strathcona County require a permit. Permits are free, and must be applied for in person at Station 6, 915 Bison Way, Sherwood Park, during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday).
Only the land owner/leasee or person with written permission from the land owner/leasee is eligible to apply for a fireworks permit. All applicants must be over the age of 18.
All firworks permits are subject to a fire ban.
2. What type of fireworks are permitted?
Consumer fireworks can be privately purchased, possessed or discharged by residents in Strathcona County with a valid fireworks permit.
Display fireworks are the type used in municipal celebrations such as New Year’s Eve or Canada Day.
Special effect pyrotechnics are designed for use by professionals. This class also includes special purpose pyrotechnics manufactured for live stage, film and television industries.
Permits for display and pyrotechnic fireworks are only given to licensed pyrotechnic professionals and only at the Fire Marshal’s discretion.
3. Where can I discharge fireworks?
Consumer fireworks may only be discharged on private rural lands. Permits cannot be issued for properties within the boundaries of Sherwood Park or the rural hamlets. They may not be discharged on public lands without special permission from the County and are prohibited in any of the rural hamlets at any time.
4. Can I use firecrackers?
The use of “firecrackers” is strictly prohibited and illegal at all times in Alberta.
5. Can I use flying or sky lanterns?
Flying or sky lanterns have been determined to create a potentially uncontrolled and unsafe condition. Therefore, under Section 9 of the Safety Codes Act, they are not acceptable for sale or use in Alberta.
6. Why does the Burning Status Line say burning is not allowed right now?
Fire and fireworks permit holders must call 780-464-8464 or text the word “BURN” to 587-340-3696 prior to each burn to determine if burning is allowed at that time. Emergency Services reserves the right to suspend fire permits without notice at any time when conditions are unsafe for open fires.
There are four basic reasons for this:
- it’s too dry
- it’s too windy (winds are forecasted to exceed 15 km/h as per Environment Canada)
- lack of available manpower (due to other ongoing incidents, Emergency Services would not be able to respond should your fire get out of control)
- a fire ban is in place
This status is evaluated up to four times daily and may change quickly. Therefore, we encourage residents to consider the size and possible duration of their planned burn before proceeding.
7. What do I do if I believe someone is burning improperly?
The health and safety of our residents is very important. That includes incidents of excessive or toxic smoke, burning prohibited materials, burning improperly or burning during a fire advisory or ban.
Residents with complaints of this nature are encouraged to call 9-1-1. If it is determined that a resident is burning improperly, penalties may be imposed at the Fire Marshal’s discretion.
8. What is the difference between a fire advisory and a fire ban?
All fire and fireworks permits are suspended during a fire advisory as open burning is not allowed. Recreational fires with appropriate screens are allowed. This includes charcoal barbecues, recreational fires in campgrounds and where appropriate, in parks.
A fire advisory is announced when there is a high fire danger. If the situation does not improve, there is a good chance that a fire ban will be announced shortly afterwards.
During a fire ban, no outdoor burning of any kind is allowed. This includes the use of fireworks. Cooking and recreational appliances that produce heat and can be turned off using a switch or knob may be used during a fire ban. This includes, but is not limited to, gas barbecues. Fire and fireworks permits are temporarily suspended.
9. How do you decide when a fire ban is declared?
Every day during fire season (roughly March through October), Emergency Services compiles and reviews current and forecasted data supplied by active fire weather stations in the area. Factors which are reviewed include:
- wind speed
These factors, along with other data such as the status of ground level fire fuels, are used to create a hazard assessment tool called the Fire Weather Index System.
This system, together with operational factors such as water restrictions and/or the availability of appropriate staffing and equipment due to other events happening in the Strathcona County, determine the hazard level. The hazard level is a primary factor when deciding if a current fire ban should remain, or in times of no fire ban, if one should be declared.
10. What are the penalties for burning illegally?
Any person who ignites, fuels, supervises, maintains or permits an outdoor fire within the municipal boundaries of Strathcona County without a permit or in violation of burning regulations (e.g. during a fire ban) can be fined up to $1,000.
Should the fire get out of control and emergency fire response is required, the person responsible for the fire can be charged the full firefighting costs.
If your fire causes damage to others’ property, you may also be responsible for the costs to repair the damage, whether you have a valid permit or not.
Fire Prevention division