Current Open Burning Requirements


Please review North Cowichan's Fire Protection Bylaw prior to any open burning activities or visit BC Air Quality to learn more about provincial initiatives and reporting, in addition to any current advisories in effect.

A 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 September 15 to November 30.
  • 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.
  • A permit is required for all properties 2 acres or greater within the Urban Containment Boundaries(UCB) prior to any backyard burning.
  • Fires may only burn during daylight hours. 
  • 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.

*** 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 fines.

For further information, contact:

Mike Dunn

Local Assistant to the Fire Commissioner


Rachel Hastings

Bylaw Compliance Officer