Open Air Burning Guidelines and Regulations
Current Burning Status on Mayne Island:
Residential Backyard Fires:
Incinerators, Burn Barrels:
Campfires (0.5m x 0.5m):
Fireworks, Sky Lanterns:
Class A Land Clearing Fires:
The Ministry of Environment's Venting Index (also available by phoning 1-888-281-2992) contains smoke-control forecasts for the current and following day, as well as archived smoke-control forecasts for the last several 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 to campfires only (1/2metre by 1/2metre) when the index is not "GOOD".
Do I have to do anything when planning a backyard fire?
A: Yes, everyone who lights, fuels, or makes use of an open fire in Mayne Island must first:
review and follow the applicable "Guide to Open Burning" for Stoves and Campfires (available below)
must check the venting index shows "Fair" or "Good" for the day of the burn, (note: "campfires" are exempt) Find out more about the venting index for Mayne Island area ...here
must possess or obtain a current Fire Permit from the Fire Chief prior to lighting any fire on Mayne Island.
ensure there are no restrictions in place for open air fires.
responsible adult must be in constant attendance at all times the fire is burning
and all other requirements as printed on your fire permit
Your Guide to Safe & Responsible Open Burning and Campfires
source: Wildfire Management Branch
ALLOWED ALL DAY
Backyard burning under the Wildfire Act is known as a Category 2 open fire. Category 2 open fires burn waste material in one pile not exceeding 2m in height and 2m* in width. (*Mayne Island Improvement District bylaws limit Category 2 fires to 2m in width)
Before planning a backyard burn, consider alternate forms of disposal such as recycling, composting, chipping, or burying the material. Some communities have established recycling programs for cardboard, paper and other debris, while others have community composting locations.
In order to protect the air around our neighbourhoods and province, fire should only be used when all other options have been exhausted. It is also important to note that the burn can only be conducted when the venting, the airs ability to dissipate smoke, is good and forecast to be good for the duration of the burn.
If you live within a municipality, regional district, or improvement district, please check with your local authorities before lighting a fire. Read the guidelines for Category 2 open fire (backyard burning) for more information.
Mayne Island Backyard Debris burning requirements
A valid Burn Permit is required from the fire department for all outdoor fires within the Mayne Island Fire Protection district.
Q: Can I Light a Backyard Fire?
A: First, you must obtain a valid and appropriate Burning Permit from the Fire Department prior to lighting any outdoor fires on Mayne Island, including campfires.
The Fire Chief opens burning in the fall when conditions are considered safe, and closes burning no later than June 30th. There is no outdoor burning permitted between July 1st and September 30th as per our establishing by-law.
Class B (catagory 2) open fires (for burning yard debris) require a Fire Permit within the Mayne Island Fire Protection District area. Remember to check with your fire department prior to lighting up—local bylaws take precedence over open burning specified in the British Columbia Wildfire Regulations.
There is always a risk when burning. Here are some ways to reduce the fire risk and minimize the smoke’s impact on your neighbours.
Be aware that if you light a backyard fire, you have a responsibility to monitor it at all times.
A Category 2 open fire is a fire that:burns material in one pile, not exceeding 2 metres high by 2 metres wide*;burns material concurrently in two piles, each not exceeding 2 metres high by 2 metres wide*; or burns stubble or grass over an area not exceeding 0.2 hectares.
Before lighting a fire, you must:make sure that there are no fire prohibitions in place (check with your local Fire Department - they will have that information available);establish a fuel break around the area where you plan to light the fire;have means available to extinguish the fire (garden hose, hand tools); andmonitor the fire at all times, making sure that the fire does not exceed a size of 2 metres high by 2 metres wide*.
If you need to leave the site for any reason, you must first extinguish the fire and ensure that the ashes are cold to the touch.
If the fire spreads beyond your control and you cannot extinguish it, you must report it immediately to authorities. Call 911 immediately.
Backyard burning or debris burning is to be used for yard clean-up only. Do not burn anything but woody debris from your yard. You may not light a Category 2 open fire to burn household waste, garbage or construction material.
If you start a fire, be courteous to your neighbours and think about how the fire and smoke may affect them.
*(local bylaw limits the size of Catagory 2 fires on Mayne Island to a maximum of 2 metres high by 2 metres in width)
Your responsibilities when carrying out a Category 2 open fire are laid out in Section 21 of the Wildfire Regulation:
(1) The circumstances in which a person described in section 5 (1) or 6 (1) of the Act may light, fuel or use a category 2 open fire in or within 1 km of forest land or grass land are as follows:
(a) the person is not prohibited from doing so under another enactment;
(b) to do so is safe and is likely to continue to be safe;
(c) the person establishes a fuel break around the burn area;
(d) while the fire is burning and there is a risk of the fire escaping the person ensures that
(i) the fuel break is maintained,
(ii) a fire suppression system is available at the burn area, of a type and with a capacity adequate for fire control if the fire escapes, and
(iii) the fire is watched and patrolled by a person to prevent the escape of fire and the person is equipped with at least one fire fighting hand tool;
(iv) Repealed. [B.C. Reg. 206/2005, s. 9.]
(e) before leaving the burn area, the person ensures that the fire is extinguished.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a person who lights, fuels or uses a category 2 open fire in the circumstances set out in subsection (1) must ensure that the fire does not escape.
(3) If a category 2 open fire, lit, fuelled or used in the circumstances set out in subsection (1), spreads beyond the burn area or otherwise becomes out of control, the person who lit, fueled or used the open fire must
(a) carry out fire control immediately,
(b) extinguish the fire if practicable, and
(c) as soon as practicable, report the fire as described in section 2 of the Act.
(4) A person to whom subsection (3) applies may discontinue carrying out fire control if relieved from doing so by an official.
(5) A person carrying on an industrial activity who is required under subsection (3) to carry out fire control in respect of a category 2 open fire must make available to fight the fire at least the greater of
(a) one piece of heavy equipment, one fire suppression system and 6 workers who are each equipped with at least one fire fighting hand tool, and
(b) the workers, fire suppression systems, heavy equipment and fire fighting hand tools as described in section 13 (1) in relation to whichever is applicable, Crown land or land other than Crown land.
(6) The person who, under subsection (5), is required to make workers, fire suppression systems, heavy equipment and fire fighting hand tools available must deploy them as appropriate, given the circumstances and conditions applicable to the fire.
Tips for Safe Debris Burning
1. Comply with local regulations. they exist for specific regional conditions and exist for a purpose.
2. Check the local weather forecast and do not burn debris if windy conditions are expected.
3. Choose a safe location to light your fire. Make sure it’s away from overhanging branches, building eaves, power lines, etc.
4. Prepare the site. The ground all around the fire should be gravel or mineral soil. Keep the area around the fire watered down while you are burning.
5. Remain at the site and monitor the fire at all times. Do not allow the fire to spread beyond the burn area.
6. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished if you have to leave the site for any reason.
7. A debris fire is for burning woody debris only. Do not burn garbage, household waste or building materials.
8. Keep your debris piles small. Place a tarp over the piles to dry out the debris as much as possible prior to your burn date. Dry piles burn faster and produce less smoke.
9. Check Environment Canada’s venting index to identify “good” days for burning: (Look for SRN VAN ISL near the bottom) http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/epdpa/venting/venting.html
10. Consider alternatives to burning.