Air Quality

2018 - Changes to Fire Protection Bylaw

On September 20th, 2017, North Cowichan Council adopted a number of ammendments to the Municipality‚Äôs Fire Protection Bylaw in order to help improve air qualityThe proposed changes will come into effect January 1, 2018 and  help to reduce the most harmful emissions within the municipality's control.  See below for a summary of the ammendments:

  1. Residential open burning will be prohibited within the Urban Containment Boundaries (UCB's) of North Cowichan (with exceptions for registered farms and parcels of land >2 acres).  Burning permits will be issued for properties that are greater than 2 acres in size within the UCB (free of charge).  Click Here to see an interactive map of the UCB's
  2. Residential open burning windows will be extended (September 15 to November 30 and March 15 to April 15) to encourage burning when the Ministry of Environments Venting Index is rated as "Good".  Burning activities will only be allowed when the Provincial Government allows Category 2 or 3 fires.
  3. Large land clearing debris burns (i.e. Category 3 - where piles are greater than 2m high x 3m wide or where multiple piles are being burned concurrently) within the Municipality will be prohibited, unless an air curtain burner is being used.
  4. The use of wood-burning appliances for heating will not be affected other than being prohibited during extended periods where air quality health advisories are in effect.  Air quality advisories are issued by Island Health and have only been in effect for a total of 12 days since 2013. Exemptions are provided for homes where a wood burning appliance is the primary source of heating.
  5. The liability of open fires will be placed onto property owners or occupiers, rather than the individual who lit the fire and;
  6. An incremental fine system has been established to discourage repeat offenders of open burning-related infractions.  The initial fine amount has been lowered to $250 and second and third offences will be $500 and $1000; respectively.
  7. Campfires (less than 24 inches in diameter) will still be allowed, provided a fire ban is not in effect for the Coastal Fire Zone.