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open burning
BC-Government Information: Backyard burning is under municipal jurisdiction. The provincial government cannot regulate it, but it does offer technical and educational information.

Many municipal bylaws dealing with backyard burning are for fire protection, and often are not intended to protect air quality. Recently, though, several municipalities have passed bylaws that ban backyard burning, or only allow the burning of dry, garden refuse under strict rules and on certain days.

There are real health hazards that are caused by particulate matter that is created from open burning and these particulates also play a major role in accelerating global warming. With so many alternatives in this day and age to open burning, the Clean Air Society is against all open burning on the Sunshine Coast.

What we can do as citizens:

Compost and mulch

If you are in need of good soil prepare your own - the Sunshine Coast is a rocky place!

A good aged compost gives very healthy soil antagonistic to many soilborne pests and diseases. Your yard residue can be taken to composting facilities at the dump as well. There you can get composted material for your garden. Just grow rye or oats for few cycles and seasons and this compost will turn into proper soil.

Super Natural

B.C. is proud of its beautiful nature. There is no urgent need to get a groomed forest, spotless lawn, or immaculate garden. Great gardeners know how to use mother Nature's smart ideas and ecological mechanisms to make plants grow properly. Nature has no garbage, no waste and no leftovers.

Tree-trimming

Don't save money on the wrong end. Instead of burning the debris get tree-trimming services to chop or dispose.

Rent chipping machines

If it is costly ask in your neighbourhood for a 'joined chipping event'. Add some coffee and cookies and it becomes a party!

NOT - NEVER - NO

Don't burn any garbage or toxic materials like tires, plastics, construction and demolition waste, treated and painted wood, and rubber. You cannot see the toxins in the smoke, but they are there.


Prohibited burning materials

To prevent the release of dangerous toxins, the following materials must not be burned:

  • tires
  • plastics
  • drywall
  • demolition waste
  • domestic waste (household material and food waste not including newspaper and cardboard)
  • special waste
  • biomedical waste
  • asphalt and asphalt products
  • treated lumber
  • railway ties
  • manure
  • rubber
  • paint and paint products
  • tar paper
  • fuel and lubricant containers.
If you suspect an illegal burn, please report it. See below.

Report a burn

When the ventilation index for a given area has a rating of 54 or below, it is illegal to open burn anywhere on the Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast falls under the Central Vancouver Island jurisdiction for the venting index. A burn also should be reported if prohibited materials are being burned (see prohibited material list above).

If the burn you are reporting is a land clearing or commercial burn, contact the conservation officer and leave a message.

Conservation officer: 1-877-952-7277

For all other burns contact your local fire department:

Egmont: 604-883-2555
Gibsons: 604-885-6870 Halfmoon Bay: 604-885-5712
Madeira Park: 604-883-9011 Garden Bay: 604-883-9922
Malaspina: 604-487-9911
Port Mellon: 604-884-5222
Roberts Creek: 604-885-6871

For Sechelt residents, please contact the by-law officer:

Jane Bowers
604-885-8486
or 604-885-8480
jbowers@sechelt.ca

You can also utilize our Neighbourly Notification Program. See below:

Neighbourly Notification Program

It's not always easy to approach a neighbour whose burning habits are causing you difficulties. Maybe you have already approached the neighbour and have been dismissed or treated with disrespect. This purpose of the Neighbourly Notification Program is first, to target directly the producer of smoke with educational materials and advice to make them aware that such actions are affecting their neighbours and community. Second, to remove the burden of direct complaint from the individual(s) affected by the burning. These complaints might include; back yard burns, use of a burn barrel, construction burns, slash burns, and excessive chimney smoke.

What can we do?

We have drafted a series of form letters that will be sent out by the SCCAS advising the people responsible for the smoke that neighbours have asked the SCCAS to send this letter to inform the person about the consequences of their burning methods. The letter will also include greener and healthier alternatives to the burning methods they are using, educational information about the health hazards, and links and contacts where they can access more information.

Your personal information will not be released. Just send us an e mail to wenotify@cleanaironthecoast.com included your neighbour's address, including postal code and name, if possible. Tell us what type of burning is causing the issue and we will send a letter to them within 2 days.

From our blog

  • No Incineration Campaign on the Sunshine Coast
  • Air pollution ‘still harming Europeans’ health’
  • Clean Air Society August 2013 Newsletter
  • 10 Easy Steps for Clean Air Day
  • April Newsletter and update
  • Clean Air - Smells Good to Me
  • So Easy to Compost
  • Sechelt Bylaw to Phase in Banning of Open Air Burning
  • May 23rd: SCCAS presentation to the new Sechelt Council advocating a ban on developers’ burns
  • Open Burning video about Alberni Valley, Vancouver Island
  • Incineration of Garbage and Other Wastes
  • Working with the District of Sechelt toban land clearing burns by developers
  • ‘Black carbon’ key to tackling climate threat: UN report
  • Clean Air Society Involved in Effort to Ban Developers’ Burns
  • Burning Construction and Demolition Waste at HSPP - Green Energy? by SCCAS member Louis Legal
  • April 15th marks the start of Clean Air Season!
  • Removing one ton of black carbon will have the same effect as removing 2,000 to 3,000 tons of CO2
  • Progress and more progress for the SCCAS
  • Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Mill is burning plastic
  • Drop in U.S. air pollution linked to longer lifespans
     1 2 >

News on this topic from around North America

  • Burn ban lifted in Lewis and Clark County

    Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:06:00 -0700 Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton has lifted the county's ban on the open burning of debris.
  • Campfire ban lifted in Parksville Qualicum Beach

    Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:30:39 -0700 Effective at noon today (Aug. 28), campfires will once again be permitted throughout the Coastal Fire Centre's jurisdiction, including Parksville Qualicum Beach, according to a CFC news release.
  • Barrington examines neighbors’ fire pit policies

    Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:51:20 -0700 At next month’s meeting, the Barrington Town Council is slated to discuss the ordinance restricting outdoor fires in chimineas and fire pits. But before they vote on a new ordinance that would allow the recreational fires, they asked the town’s solicitor to see how neighboring communities govern the situation. Following are notes from the solicitor’s ...
  • Campfire ban for Northwest to be lifted at 4 p.m. today

    Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:41:03 -0700 Terrace and other parts of Northwest will be permitted campfires, however other open fire bans remain in place
  • Global garbage burning polluting skies beyond what is reported: study

    Wed, 27 Aug 2014 05:48:23 -0700 Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study.
  • Man tries to run woman off road

    Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:50:13 -0700 Terrace RCMP responded to approximately 34 calls for service from August 25, 8 a.m. till August 26, 8 a.m.
  • Campfire ban lifted throughout region on Thursday

    Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:04:32 -0700 Campfires will again be permitted throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, which includes Victoria and Esquimalt. The ban will be lifted Thursday.
  • Ravalli Co. continues open burning ban

    Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:52:55 -0700 County fire warden said despite rain, valley floor remains dry.
  • City ban on outdoor cooking fires lifted, but other bans remain in place

    Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:31:13 -0700 The City of Williams Lake open burning ban that came into effect on July 16 has been lifted, effective immediately.
  • Friday Matches

    Mon, 25 Aug 2014 03:36:29 -0700 Note that all times are approximate and the later times largely depend on how fast or slow the prior match is. 11 a.m.
  • Campfire ban rescinded

    Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:34:11 -0700 Campfires are allowed again in the Kamloops Fire Centre. The Wildfire Management Branch rescinded its campfire ban Thursday, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. A release from the ministry of environment states rain in the area has decreased the risk of wildfires.
  • Campfire ban rescinded in Okanagan

    Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:33:26 -0700 After more than a month with campfire-free camping, you can now roast those marshmallows once again.