Backyard and Landclearing Burning
Scroll to CNTRL VAN ISLD or call 1-888-281-2992. - Never burn household garbage. - Only untreated natural wood and brush should be burned. - No fire should produce heavy smoke or fumes that interferes with the normal use or enjoyment of life or property, or that endanger the health, safety, or welfare of persons. animals, plants, or property. - Never burn any chemical or material including oil, tar, rubber, plastic, fertilize, construction/demolition waste, treated wood, grass, leaves, or other materials referred to as garbage or refuse. - Fires should be a minimum of 10 metres (33 feet) from all property lines (this requires approximately a 1/2 acre lot) and 4 metres (13 feet) from any structures or flammable or combustible material (see diagram). - Stack the pile so it has plenty of air to all parts of the pile. If it does not, you will notice excessive amounts of smoke. - Only one hand piled fire per property permitted at a time. - The fire should not be more than 2 metres (6.5 feet) in diameter and 2 metres (6.5 feet) in height. - Burned material must be from the land where the fire is located. - Proper fire-fighting equipment, including at least a shovel, rake and garden hose connected to a water source must be on hand and readily available in case of fire escape. - Fires may only burn during daylight hours. OUTDOOR BURNING BYLAWS Backyard and land clearing burning pose serious air quality and health problems for every district on Vancouver Island. Although the provincial government expects communities to institute appropriate outdoor burning bylaw protection for their specific situations, many have either no or insufficient regulation. Some districts suffer from too many confusing and unharmonized regulations. The AQC produced a "Review of Open Burning Bylaws on Vancouver Island". It is intended as a resource for any community planning to initiate, review, or update bylaws that affect air quality management in their area. Following is a power point summary of the report with a focus on smoke reduction: Smoke Reduction For the full report: Review of Open Burning Bylaws on Vancouver Island BURNING IN THE ALBERNI-CLAYOQUOT REGIONAL DISTRICT Outdoor burning in the ACRD must comply with the OBSCR. Although the ACRD has no other superseding bylaws, it is developing a set of burning guidelines for valley residents. The Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, piloted a Resource Management Coordination Project to help deliver burning compliance monitoring in the ACRD, as well as education and enforcement activities with regard to open burning. Compliance and enforcement officers from Natural Resource Operations continue to work in the Alberni Valley to help educate and prevent unnecessary and illegal burning. The ACRD plays a key role with the AQC in the delivery of public education and smoke reduction initiatives. BURNING IN THE CITY OF PORT ALBERNI The City of Port Alberni has Bylaw #4457, pertaining to outdoor burning. Under the bylaw, backyard burning is banned from April 15 to Oct. 15. Burning during the rest of the year is subject to a list of restrictions. To view the city's regulation for outdoor burning, go to:
City of Port Alberni Burning Regulations All of the City's bylaws, including smoke and burning regulations, are scheduled for review
in 2012. In the meantime, City Council voted to increase the City's role in providing education regarding the efficient and clean use of woodstoves. This would include, for example, seminars, web based information, and special offers of training in response to specific complaints. It also voted to encourage voluntary smoke reduction measures when there is poor atmospheric venting. This means that, not only Environment Canada will be keeping track of those stagnation days, but the City and the entire community will be paying attention. Air quality will improve as citizens gain a greater understanding of how and when thermal inversions occur and how they can lead to stagnant air and ever-increasing levels of air pollution. PROVINCIAL REGULATION Related provincial regulations to be aware of are the Environmental Management Act (EMA), which regulates the burning of industrial waste, and the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation (OBSCR), which oversees the burning of land clearing debris. EMA was brought into force on July 8, 2004. The Act replaces the old Waste Management Act and the Environment Management Act and brings provisions from both of those acts into one statute. OPEN BURNING SMOKE CONTROL REGULATION (OBSCR) Burning of land clearing debris is regulated by the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. The purpose of the OBSCR is to mitigate the negative effects of smoke on human health and property. It requires that operators ensure local air flow will not cause smoke to negatively impact a nearby population. Its regulations include:
- Minimum fire set-back distances from hospitals, schools and other residences.
- Allowable times and frequencies for ignition, burning and smoke release.
- A list of prohibited materials including plastics, rubber, garbage, paint, treated wood, roofing materials and drywall.
- A burning prohibition unless the venting index is GOOD on the day of ignition, and GOOD or FAIR on the following day. To view the full OBSCR:
Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation COMPLAINT PROTOCOL Clean air is everybody's right and everybody's responsibility. If you see or experience unacceptable smoke pollution please report it. 1-877-952 RAPP is a central line where complaints are recorded and response is coordinated through Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers and/or Ministry of Natural Resources Compliance and Enforcement Officers. A call can actually end up making a difference in your neighbourhood. If you are in the City, local smoke problems should be reported to the City Fire Department. Persistent problems within the ACRD should be reported to the RAPP line 1-877-952 RAPP and brought to the attention of the Regional Board in writing.