In 2013, the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) introduced bylaw No. 3716 – Smoke Control Regulation. This bylaw was enacted in order to improve local air quality and to address health impacts linked to smoke pollution.
Key features of the Bylaw include the following:
- Open Burning is permitted from March 15 through April 15 and from October 15 through November 15 only
- Open Burning must be located at least 10 metres from all property lines (generally restricting burning to parcels ½ acre in size or larger)
- The size of Open Burning must not exceed 2 metres in diameter and 2 metres in height
- Open Burning may only occur when the BC Venting Index is rated as “GOOD” for Southern Vancouver Island(SRN VAN ISLD)**
- Burning material must be smaller than 8″ (200 mm) in diameter OR be burnt within 72 hours (no new material can be added after 5 pm)
- Open Burning must be conducted and concluded between 7:00 am and sunset of the same day.
IMPORTANT: “Open Fires” larger than 2m x 3m; or any machine-stacked landclearing piles must be registered with the CVRD Public Safety Department prior to ignition. Please refer to the Bylaw in its entirety for further regulations and the definition of “open burning”. More information at the CVRD Website.
There are alternatives to burning! Yard and garden materials like small branches and leaves can be recycled for free at many convenient locations in the CVRD. Check out the Cowichan Recyclopedia for details and hundreds more recycling ideas.
** The BC Ministry of Environment’s Venting Index contains smoke-control forecasts for the current and following day, as well as archived smoke-control forecasts for the last serveral years. If the Ventilation Index indicates POOR or FAIR, then smoke that results from burning will tend to build up, causing air pollution. To avoid such pollution, outdoor burning is restricted when the index is POOR or FAIR.