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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

  • Pollution advisory issued for Phoenix on Sunday

    Sat, 13 Dec 2014 17:25:40 -0800 A cold front that is expected to lead to more wood-burning fires has prompted environmental regulators to issue a high pollution advisory for fine particulate matter
  • TOMORROW: Pollution advisory issued for Phoenix

    Sat, 13 Dec 2014 06:10:53 -0800 A cold front that is expected to lead to more wood-burning fires has prompted environmental regulators to issue a high pollution advisory for fine particulate matter Sunday in metro Phoenix.
  • Fire chief lifts ban on open burning

    Fri, 12 Dec 2014 09:40:32 -0800 Following recent rains, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins lifted the suspension of open burning effective 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 8, for all local and state responsibility areas within Riverside County. Several factors are considered when determining the severity of fire danger and are closely monitored. Weather, fuel moisture and vegetation growth are
  • Health board hears public input on proposed wood-burning ban

    Thu, 11 Dec 2014 21:45:09 -0800 Murray : The Salt Lake County Board of Health held a hearing Thursday night to allow the public to comment on a proposed regulation that would outlaw fireplace or wood-stove burning during bad air-quality days and would also prohibit open burning. T...
  • India has unprecedented opportunity to lead by 'Good Climate Governance'

    Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:24:25 -0800 The inconvenient truth is not that global warming is undeniably unequivocal but that we are unable to address it with the required urgency.
  • Cal Fire lifts burn ban, effective Dec. 8

    Sun, 07 Dec 2014 11:18:04 -0800 The months-long ban on open burning on lands in areas protected by Cal Fire in the region will be lifted on Monday, state fire officials announced yesterday. Starting Dec. 8, residents will be allowed to burn dry, natural vegetative materials such as pine needles and tree trimmings. The burn piles must not be more than 4 feet in diameter, be surrounded by a 10-foot clearance area and must not ...
  • San Diego burn ban lifted

    Sun, 07 Dec 2014 11:10:20 -0800 SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The months-long ban on open burning on lands in areas protected by Cal Fire in the San Diego area will be lifted on Monday, state fire officials announced Saturday.
  • Cal Fire to lift burn ban Monday

    Sat, 06 Dec 2014 12:44:04 -0800 SAN DIEGO — The months-long ban on open burning on lands in areas protected by Cal Fire in the San Diego area will be lifted on Monday, state fire officials announced Saturday. Starting Monday, residents will be allowed to burn dry, natural vegetative materials such as pine needles and tree trimmings. The burn piles must not be […]
  • Ban on open burning in areas protected by Cal Fire to be lifted Monday

    Sat, 06 Dec 2014 12:35:00 -0800 Those burning debris will be required to have a water source nearby, do so under the supervision of a responsible adult and cease from burning on windy days.
  • Cal Fire to lift burn ban on Monday

    Sat, 06 Dec 2014 12:22:57 -0800 The months-long ban on open burning on lands in areas protected by Cal Fire in the San Diego area will be lifted on Monday, state fire officials announced Saturday.
  • Local burn bans issued for a dry December

    Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:20:40 -0800 A burn ban has been issued for several local counties due to a lack of rain and an increase of grass fires.
  • Burn Ban In Effect for Hinds County

    Thu, 04 Dec 2014 10:17:25 -0800 The Hinds County Board of Supervisors has issued a burn ban for Hinds County