Where & When Can Open Burning Occur?


As per the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Open Burning Restrictions have been issued for all High Smoke Sensitivity Zones in British Columbia. As a result, an Open Burning Ban will be imposed for the entire Municipality of North Cowichan, effective at 8:10 AM on March 26, 2020 until 09:00 AM local time April 15, 2020 or until further notice. This ban includes all burning or a fires set in accordance with federal or provincial regulations. This ban also includes the following:

  • Category 2 open fires
  • Category 3 open fires
  • fires burning woody debris in outdoor stoves

This prohibition does not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes and/or liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimeters.


When there is no open burning ban in place, 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 [PDF - 238 KB], 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 [PDF - 238 KB] 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 receive a Provincial fine of up to $200,000, as well as Municipal fines.