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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 an open burn (ie: land clearing, yard waste, commercial burn), please take note of the address/location of the burn, take photos if you can and contact the conservation officer right away. People who open burn tend to be repeat offenders. Only by reporting it to conservation officer will the offender change their ways. You can report annoynamously online or over the phone.

Report a burn online OR call the 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

  • Agencies respond to wildfire north of Shepherd

    Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:10:00 -0700 Firefighters responded to a wildfire north of Shepherd on Friday afternoon as warm temperatures and high winds made conditions hazardous.
  • Burton Fire Department lifts outdoor burning ban

    Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:45:53 -0700 A ban put in place for open burning in the city of Burton earlier this week was lifted Friday, March 27, by fire officials.
  • Countywide burn ban issued for Susquehanna County

    Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:39:56 -0700 Susquehanna County, Pa. (WBNG Binghamton) Officials in Pennsylvania issued a resolution enacting a temporary ban on open burning in Susquehanna County.
  • Fire danger rises with temperatures

    Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:42:19 -0700 The dry fuel conditions along with the warm and windy weather has local fire officials worried about the increasing fire dangers. Most of South Dakota, 82 percent, is considered either abnormally dry or in moderate drought conditions. Lack of snowfall during the winter months has left the state in dangerous fire conditions, moving into a […]
  • Rain goes a long way: Burn ban lifted for residents in Menomonee Falls

    Wed, 25 Mar 2015 09:34:22 -0700 MENOMONEE FALLS (WITI) — The temporary ban of open burning for the Village of Menomonee Falls has been lifted. The report from the DNR states the Fire Danger in our area is “Low” due lower temperatures and moisture. Residents with a burn permit will be allowed to conduct open burning, although they still are required […]
  • Annual burn ban in effect until May 15

    Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:19:22 -0700 Press release shared by Genesee County Emergency Services: With the start of spring and warmer temperatures expected, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds New Yorkers that residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited in the state through May 14. "Along with the milder temperatures that come with spring, the risk for wildfires also ...
  • Brush-Burning Ban In Effect Until May 15

    Tue, 24 Mar 2015 06:47:31 -0700 State officials are reminding New Yorkers that residential brush burning in small towns is prohibited through May 15 because of the risk of wildfires.
  • Monday, March 23, 2015

    Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:00:38 -0700 What is a Red Flag Warning? A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the United States National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.
  • Beadle County issues burn ban

    Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:16:17 -0700 HURON — With the ongoing dry conditions, a burn ban has been imposed in Beadle County, effective immediately. Emergency Management Director Tom Moeding said no open burning is allowed.
  • DEC says residential brush burning prohibited until May 15

    Mon, 23 Mar 2015 09:21:55 -0700 With the start of spring and warmer temperatures expected, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reminds New Yorkers that residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited in the state through May 14.“Along with the milder temperatures that come with spring, the risk for wildfires also increases,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.
  • Game and Fish bans open fires on Oahe recreation area

    Thu, 19 Mar 2015 23:34:33 -0700 The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is prohibiting open burning this spring on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area along both sides of the Missouri River south of Bismarck-Mandan.
  • County looks at burn ban clarifications

    Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:37:56 -0700 Defining agricultural burning in April