Burning and Air Quality

Open burning in the CVRD is restricted to between March 15 and April 15, and October 15 to November 15.

  • Check the 4:00 BC Venting Index projection for Southern Vancouver Island before you burn (or call 1.888.281.2992) 
    • Open burning is only allowed when the Southern Vancouver Island Venting Index is rated GOOD for 4:00pm on the day you want to burn
  • All burning must occur between 7:00 a.m. and sunset of the same day
  • Open burning is limited to only one hand piled fire not greater than two metres wide and two metres high and must be continually supervised
  • Only untreated natural wood, prunings or branches can be burned (NO leaves, grass clippings, garbage or construction waste)
  • Open burning must be located at least 10 metres from all property lines

There are alternatives to open burning:

  • The CVRD provides free yard and garden waste drop-off at local Recycling Centres
  • Private waste management facilities offer free or low cost yard and garden drop-off
  • Chip and reuse material on site

Smoke Pollution and Your Health

Smoke pollution from open burning can seriously impact your health, as well as the health and well-being of your family and neighbours. The CVRD and partners have set up a network of air quality sensors for residents to check out real-time air pollution levels in the Cowichan region

Chemicals found in backyard burn smoke or improperly used woodstove smoke can include dioxins, furans, arsenic, mercury, PCBs, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, hydrochloric acid and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

To protect and improve air quality in the Cowichan Region, the CVRD has drafted two bylaws which regulate backyard burning and landclearing debris burning. 

If you heat your home with a woodstove, you may be eligible for a rebate through the 2021 Woodstove Replacement Program