Air Quality

Visit BC Air Quality to learn more about provincial initiatives and reporting, in addition to any current advisories in effect.

Alternatives to Open Burning

As an alternative to burning, North Cowichan encourages you to compost at home or take your yard waste (year-round, free of charge) to one of these Cowichan Valley Regional District solid waste management and recycling facilities:

  • Bings Creek Solid Waste Management Complex, 3900 Drinkwater Road, Duncan. Open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm.
  • Peerless Road Drop-Off Depot, 10830 Peerless Road, Ladysmith. Open Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday 9:00am to 5:00pm.

For further information please phone the CVRD Recycling Hotline at 250-746-2540

For further information on the health effects of wood burning visit the British Columbia Lung Association.

Backyard Burning

A $500 Municipal fine may be issued in ALL areas (Agricultural Land Reserve included) if the following conditions are not met:

  • UNDER North Cowichan's Fire Protection Bylaw, backyard burning is ONLY permitted between March 15 to April 15 and October 15 to November 15.
  • ONLY burn when the BC Air Quality Venting Index is "GOOD".  (scroll down to view "SRN VANCOUVER ISLAND"), or call 1-888-281-2992 for a recorded message of the daily Venting Index for Southern Vancouver Island.
  • NO person may burn any chemical or material including oil, tar, rubber, plastic, or fertilizer, in an outdoor fire that:  produces heavy smoke, interferes with the normal use or enjoyment of life or property, endangers health, safety or welfare of persons or animals, damages plants or property, or contains any construction or demolition waste, treated wood, grass, leaves or materials referred to as garbage or refuse.
  • ONLY untreated natural wood and brush may be burned.
  • FIRES must be a minimum of 10 metres (33 feet) from all property lines and 4 metres (13 feet) from any structures.
  • ONLY one hand-piled fire per property permitted at a time, no more than 2 metres (6.5 feet) in diameter and 2 metres (6.5 feet) in height.
  • BURNED material must be from the land where the fire is located.
  • PROPER fire-fighting equipment including shovel, rake and garden hose connected to a water source, must be on hand and readily available, in case of fire escape.
  • Fires may only burn during daylight hours. 


Please be aware of the Fire Protection Bylaw or contact the Bylaw Compliance Officer prior to burning.

A person who contravenes the Ministry of Environment's Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation is liable on conviction of a Provincial fine of up to $200,000 and a Municipal fine of $500.

Recreational Fire Pits

Small recreational fire pits may only burn clean dry firewood and must:

  • Be made of noncombustible material.
  • Be equipped with a tight-fitting lid of perforated metal or wire screen having openings not more than 1 cm2 in area.
  • Not exceed 0.5 m3 in volume.
  • Be located not less than 2 meters from a property line and not less than 5 metres from a building or flammable combustible material.
  • There must be fire-fighting equipment available on hand including at least one shovel, rake and garden hose connected to a water source.

Woodstove Exchange Program

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) administers the woodstove exchange program and it is available to residents of North Cowichan. For information on rebate funding, please visit the CVRD website or call 250-746-2530.