Changes to when and where open burning can take place will help protect British Columbia’s air quality and people’s health by reducing fine particulate matter pollution.
The new Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation will come into effect on Sept. 15, 2019, in advance of the fall burning season. The new rules will oversee the open burning of logging slash and other vegetative debris. These rules will replace an outdated, one-size-fits-all regulation for burning throughout the province, regardless of the location or reason for burning.
People must still meet any municipal, local fire department or government burning rules. Municipalities and regional districts may regulate open burning more strictly than the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. For example, the burning of smaller debris on private residential properties is not regulated by this regulation but local governments can regulate this burning by bylaw. Sooke's regulations are available online.
New requirements to improve the protection of community air quality include more stringent rules in areas near communities, including shorter burn periods and a requirement to dry out debris, as well as larger setbacks from neighbours, schools and hospitals.
Open burning is the largest source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in the province. It contributes to poor air quality in communities and has a wide range of health impacts. Open burning contributes as much PM2.5 as transportation, wood heating and the wood-processing industry combined.
Additionally, the new regulation allows communities more flexibility to conduct controlled burning to reduce fire hazards that could make them vulnerable to larger wildfires. Guidance documents are being finalized and will be available online in advance of the fall burning season, along with more information on the regulation.
Source: Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
- Burning regulations in Sooke (Opening burning allowed from Oct 1 to May 31, but please refer to these regulations for specific details)
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To report a wildfire, please call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. Local non-emergency numbers (in case of emergency, please phone 9-1-1):
- Sooke Fire Department: 250-642-5422
- Otter Point Fire Department: 250-642-6211
- Shirley Fire Department: 250-646-2107
- Port Renfrew Fire Department 250-647-0101
- East Sooke Fire Department: 250-642-4411