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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.


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!


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 anonymously 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
phone:604-885-8486 or 604-885-8480
email: jbowers@sechelt.ca

For Halfmoon Bay residents, please complete this SCRD Bylaw Compliance Complaint Form and email/fax or mail it to:

email: bylaw.compliance@scrd.ca
phone: (604) 885-7909
mail: Bylaw Enforcement Officer
Sunshine Coast Regional District
1975 Field Road, Sechelt, B.C.
V0N 3A1

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

  • NY outside burn ban answers wildfire season threat

    Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:55:49 -0700 Department of Environmental Conservation warns dry grass can fuel wildfires Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in the state, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Some towns in and around the Adirondack and Catskill Parks are designated as "fire towns," where open burning is prohibited year-round unless a written permit is obtained ...
  • Crews Battle Brush Fires Across NEPA

    Mon, 13 Apr 2015 21:21:40 -0700 The warm, breezy weather means more brush fires will be popping up across our area.
  • Officials remind residents to beware brush fire dangers

    Mon, 13 Apr 2015 01:06:03 -0700 NEW PHILADELPHIA — As he surveyed the scorched earth along a dirt road in Blythe Township on Wednesday morning, the remains of the brush fire that burned 2.3 acres last Monday, state forester Steven Ziegler said most of these fires are caused by carelessn
  • McHenry County Health Dept. officials remind residents about burn ordinances

    Sat, 11 Apr 2015 22:07:38 -0700 WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Department of Health officials wish to remind residents of the restrictions regarding the proper disposal of landscape waste.
  • Wildfire operation plan approved

    Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:20:27 -0700 The Prowers County Commissioners reviewed and approved the agricultural burn, annual wildfire operation plan with Rural Fire Chief Staffon Warn, April 7, which he says is how the agency would use state and federal fire resources that come into the county.
  • Firefighter’s home saved by colleagues

    Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:36:34 -0700 An MD of Foothills firefighter had a home to go to thanks to the efforts of her colleagues and a bit of help from Mother Nature. Volunteer firefighter Charlotte Fisher received a call of a grassfire northeast of Blackie was at her family home the afternoon of March 31.
  • Forester emphasizes caution during brush fire season

    Thu, 09 Apr 2015 01:15:07 -0700 NEW PHILADELPHIA — As he surveyed the scorched earth along a dirt road in Blythe Township on Wednesday morning, the remains of the brush fire that burned 2.3 acres Monday, Steven Ziegler, a forester for the state, said most of these fires are caused by carelessness. “The flames here climbed about eight feet up the tree. We just had one in Carbon County which covered 27 acres. This had the ...
  • NGT bans diesel vehicles over 10 years old in Delhi

    Tue, 07 Apr 2015 12:12:14 -0700 In an order that could improve Delhi’s deteriorating air quality if implemented effectively, the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday prohibited diesel vehicles that are over 10 years old from plying in the capital.
  • Burn ban in effect until mid-May

    Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:15:00 -0700 A rash of brush fires in the region in recent days has prompted local officials to remind residents about a burn ban that is in effect until May 16.
  • Burn bans issued in Fayette, Butler counties

    Sat, 04 Apr 2015 15:43:00 -0700 WEST UNION | The Iowa State Fire Marshal has issued a burn ban for Butler County. The county emergency management director says no open burning of any kind is permitted.
  • Commission to declare fire emergency, burn ban

    Fri, 03 Apr 2015 18:31:34 -0700 BROOKINGS – Officials in Brookings County plan to declare a fire emergency because of dry air and no moisture in the region. Brookings County commissioners will meet in a special session at 1 p.m. Friday to pass a resolution declaring the emergency.
  • Open burning ban lifted in Lewis and Clark County

    Thu, 02 Apr 2015 18:46:31 -0700 A ban on the open burning of debris in Lewis and Clark County was lifted at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.