Know the Rules

Smoke Control Bylaw No. 3716

The CVRD Smoke Control Regulation Bylaw regulates open burning in Electoral Areas A, B, C, D, E and G (with the exception of the Gulf Islands)

  • Open burning is only permitted from March 15 to April 15 and from October 15 to November 15 for those Areas covered by Bylaw 3716.
  • All burning must be set in accordance with federal or provincial regulations.

Residents in Areas F, H, and I must adhere to restrictions set in place by the Ministry of Environment.  

Backyard burning is completely banned in the local municipalities of City of Duncan, Town of Ladysmith and Town of Lake Cowichan. Similar to the CVRD, the Municipality of North Cowichan has a Fire Protection Bylaw restricting open burning. 

For all Areas when burning is permitted:

  • Check the BC Venting Index for Southern Vancouver Island before you burn (or call 1.888.281.2992) 
  • Open burning is only allowed when the Southern Vancouver Island Venting Index is rated GOOD
  • Only untreated natural wood, prunings or branches can be burned (NO leaves, grass clippings, garbage or construction waste)
  • Open burning must be located at least 10 metres from all property lines
  • Open burning is limited to one pile two metres in diameter and two metres in height
  • All burning must occur between 7:00 a.m. and sunset of the same day

What is the Venting Index?

There are many alternatives to open burning

Landclearing Management Regulation Bylaw No. 2020

Open burning of landclearing debris and stumps is banned in the Cowichan Region under the Landclearing Management Regulation Bylaw. The minimum fine is $1,000 for illegal burning.

Landclearing debris and stumps can only be burned with the use of an air curtain or trench burner and according to the BC Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. All landclearing burns must be registered with the CVRD using the Open Burn Registration Form prior to ignition.

Provincial Open Burning Regulations

Burning of construction debris and other prohibited materials are banned under the Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. A person who burns prohibited materials can face fines of up to $200,000. Burning of waste generated from an industry, trade or business is prohibited at all times by the Environmental Management Act.