Know the Rules
CVRD Electoral Areas
The CVRD Smoke Control Regulation Bylaw regulates open burning in Electoral Areas A, B, C, D, E and G (with the exception of the Gulf Islands)
- Open burning is only permitted from March 15 to April 15 and from October 15 to November 15 for those Areas covered by Bylaw 3716.
- ll burning must be set in accordance with federal or provincial regulations.
Residents in Areas F, H, and I must adhere to restrictions set in place by the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Strategy.
Local Municipality restrictions
Backyard burning is completely banned in the following local municipalities:
- The City of Duncan
- The Town of Ladysmith
- The Town of Lake Cowichan
Similar to the CVRD, the Municipality of North Cowichan has a Fire Protection Bylaw restricting open burning to certain times each year.
Open burning window rules:
- Check the BC Venting Index for Southern Vancouver Island and only burn when the 4:00 pm forecast is rated GOOD
- Only dry, untreated, natural wood or branches may be burned (NO leaves, grass clippings, garbage or construction waste)
- Open burning must be located at least 10 metres from all property lines
- Open burning is limited to one pile two metres in diameter and two metres in height
- All burning must occur between 7:00 a.m. and sunset of the same day
What is the Venting Index and why does it matter?
The Venting Index measures how well smoke can mix with the surrounding air. Based on wind speed and mixing height of the atmosphere (e.g. how high smoke rises), the Index determines how long smoke persists in a given area. Given that the Cowichan Valley is bowl-shaped, smoke can get trapped here for days, causing poor air quality and respiratory issues. This means that open burning is only permitted when the Venting Index is rated GOOD, not FAIR or POOR.
For more details, see the Ventilation Index Forecast on the right and the interactive map below.