Burning and Air Quality
Open Burning in the CVRD
Open burning in CVRD Electoral Areas A, B, C, D, E, and G is regulated under Smoke Control Bylaw No. 3716. Burning is only permitted from March 15 to April 15, and October 15 to November 15. A.
Burning in Areas F, H, and I is regulated by the Ministry of Environment; residents should check the current bans and restrictions before starting a burn.
For all Areas, when burning is permitted:
- 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 4:00 pm 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
For more information, visit our Know the Rules page
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.
Responsible Backyard Burning
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 that regulate backyard burning and land clearing debris burning. Want to promote healthy hearts and lungs instead? Visit our Alternatives to Open Burning page.
If you heat your home with a wood stove, you may be eligible for a rebate through the Woodstove Replacement Program.
Report an Illegal Burn
All fire safety concerns or emergencies should be reported to a local fire department or by calling 911 Emergency Services.
To report illegal backyard burns in Areas A, B, C, D, E, and G:
Call CVRD Bylaw Enforcement at 250.746.2655.
Call your local municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officer. Telephone numbers are listed below:
District of North Cowichan 250.746.3100
Town of Lake Cowichan 250.749.6681
Town of Ladysmith 250.245.6400
City of Duncan 250.746.6126
To report illegal open burning in Areas F, H, and I, and for burning of landclearing material, construction debris, or prohibited materials:
Call the BC Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers & Polluters (RAPP) line at 1.877.952.7277