Where & When Can Open Burning Occur?

To reduce air pollution, backyard burning is only permitted in limited circumstances:

  • If your property is within the urban containment boundary:
    •  Property must be 2 acres or greater
    • Owner/tenant must obtain a Municipal permit (no fee)
    • Only between March 15 - April 15 AND September 15 - November 30
    • Only when the venting index is good
  • If your property is outside the urban containment boundary:
    • Only between March 15 - April 15 AND September 15 - November 30
    • Only when the venting index is good
  • Category 3 burns (fires larger than 2m high by 3m wide or where multiple piles are being burned concurrently, typically to burn debris from land clearing or development):
    • Not allowed within the urban containment boundary
    • Allowed outside the urban containment boundary only in conjunction with an air curtain burner.
Not sure if your property is inside or outside the urban containment boundary? Enter your address in the search bar at the top of this mapping tool to find out.
Not sure how to tell if the venting index is good? Go to the Provincial venting index webpage and scroll down to "SRN VANCOUVER ISLAND" OR call 1-888-281-2992 for a recorded message of the daily venting index for Southern Vancouver Island.
Not sure how these restrictions apply to registered, Class 9 farms? Burning completed under “normal farm practices” as defined in the Right To Farm Act is exempt from the requirements of North Cowichan's Fire Protection Bylaw, provided that the land on which the burning takes place is appropriately zoned to allow farming as a land use and is part of a legitimate farm business.

Please review North Cowichan's Fire Protection Bylaw and the Ministry of Environment's Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation prior to any open burning. A person who contravenes the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation can recieve a Provincial fine of up to $200,000, as well as Municipal fines.