New open burning restrictions announced by B.C. government

Burnaby NOW

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The province has announced new restrictions on open burning, including more stringent rules in areas near communities, shorter burn periods and a requirement to dry out debris.

There are also requirements for larger setbacks from neighbours, schools and hospitals.

Fire/Shutterstock

The new Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation will come into effect on Sept. 15, 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“These rules will replace an outdated, one-size-fits-all regulation for burning throughout the province, regardless of the location or reason for burning,” said a news release. “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.”

“Poor air quality can take a terrible toll on people living with respiratory and underlying health issues,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “Given the difficult wildfire seasons our province has faced in recent years, initiatives like this to improve air quality are important, especially to seniors and children who are often the most at risk.”

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.

Read the new regulation online here.