B.C. Air Quality

Burning Outdoors: What, Where and When Can I Burn?

For a summary of considerations associated with obtaining permission to burn or incinerate under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) refer to the Burning Requirements Factsheet (PDF).

Outdoor burning of vegetative debris is regulated by a combination of provincial legislation and local-government bylaws, including:

Visit Regulations and Bylaws on Outdoor Burning for more detailed information.

Burn Only as a Last Resort

Before any burning takes place, the first step should be to seek out opportunities for debris utilization or alternative disposal methods. The Recycling Council of BC has put together an inventory of businesses and facilities in every regional district that accept household and business vegetative debris. See Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC): Directory of Alternatives to Open Burning.

If you feel you must light a fire (and if provincial and municipal laws allow it), remember these important tips:

  • Don't burn when the smoke will be trapped in the area — make sure the Ventilation Index for your region is "good."
  • Burn efficiently. Light a quick-burning, hot fire that produces a minimum of smoke. To do this, don't starve the fire of oxygen and don't burn wet material: make sure the material has been dried for some time.
  • Don't burn any garbage, such as tires, plastics, paper and cardboard. Reduce waste at its source by avoiding overpackaging and recyle everything you can!
  • Never burn toxic, prohibited materials (e.g. tires, plastics, construction and demolition waste, treated and painted wood, and rubber).

The Ministry of Forests and Range has produced brochures on Stoves & Campfires (PDF: 412 KB/2 pages) and Backyard & Industrial Burning (PDF: 746 KB/2 pages) that provide valuable information on relevant wildfire laws. For information on open-burning bans, campfire bans, and forest-use restrictions, visit the Ministry of Forests and Range's Open Fire Ban site.

For more information on recycling or disposal options, contact the Recycling Council of British Columbia's Recycling Hotline (Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 8:00pm and Saturday, 9:00am to 4:00pm):

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