Smoke and open burning in Metchosin, BC, Canada.

- Regulations -

Backyard burning is regulated by local government bylaws such as Metchosin's Fire Regulation and Prevention Bylaw. Metchosin maintains a page that lists the current burning regulations. Current information is also available on the Fire Chief's twitter page.

Some of the open burning in Metchosin is also affected by the Land Use (Zoning) Bylaw if it is related to the activities of a Home Business. For example, in Rural Residential 2 (RR2) zoning (sections 21 and 58)...

21(6) Containment Within Building - Home Business, including the storage of materials, tools, equipment, containers, finished and unfinished products associated with the Home Business, must occur wholly within a building which may be either the dwelling unit or an accessory building or both provided that the maximum floor area specified in this Section is not exceeded.

21(8) Prohibitions - Home Business shall not:
(b) produce noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odour, litter, or glare which is detectable from any lot line of the lot on which Home Business is operated... Land Use Bylaw 259 Sept 2012 Consolidated
District of Metchosin

Open burns beyond what local bylaws allow (e.g., land-clearing or machine-piled fires) are regulated by the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation (OBSCR). (See also this guide and this brochure). The OBSCR is part of the EMA and regulates open burning not exempted by the EMA. These fires require a permit from the Metchosin Fire Department. Some of the conditions of the OBSCR these open burns must follow are...

  • The open burning of debris must be carried out at least 100 metres from neighbouring residences and businesses.
  • The smoke release period for each parcel of land must not be greater than 72 consecutive hours.
  • open burning of debris may proceed if no open burning has occurred on the parcel of land at any time during the 15 days preceding the open burning.
  • smoke may be released during open burning on a parcel of land on no more than 4 separate occasions during a calendar year.
  • open burning of debris must not be initiated unless the ventilation index is forecast as...
  •     (a) "good" for the day the open burning is to be started, and
        (b) "good" or "fair" on the second day. Environmental Management Act
    Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation

To reduce the harmful effects of smoke from open burning, most communities limit open burning to certain days or months (Central Saanich, North Saanich) and/or restrict open burning to days when the Venting Index is "good" (Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen, District of Lillooet, Regional District of Nanaimo, Sunshine Coast).

(Note: Here is a good Venting Index presentation by a BC Ministry of Environment Air Quality Meteorologist and also the BC Air Quality Venting Index web page.)

In recognition of the harmful effects of smoke from open burning, the BC Ministry of Environment OBSCR is currently being revised. The proposed changes to the OBSCR will further restrict or eliminate large scale open burning (not "backyard burns") in populated areas (including Metchosin).

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