Burning and Air Quality


OPEN BURNING BAN is in effect until further notice in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect pollutants have on viral respiratory infections as well as reducing the likelihood of human-caused wildfires. The following activities are prohibited: Category 2 or 3 open fires, Resource Management open fires, the use of fireworks, the use of sky lanterns and the use of burn barrels or burn cages (except when used for a campfire). These prohibitions apply to all public and private land within British Columbia.

There are many alternatives to open burning. The CVRD offers free yard and garden waste drop-off at local Recycling Centres.

Smoke pollution from open burning can seriously impact your health, as well as the health and well-being of your family and neighbours. The CVRD and partners have set up a network of air quality sensors for residents to check out real-time air pollution levels in the Cowichan region.

To protect and improve air quality in the Cowichan Region, the CVRD has drafted two bylaws which regulate backyard burning and landclearing debris burning. Make sure that you know the rules before you burn! 

If you heat your home with a woodstove, you may also be eligible for a rebate through the 2020 Woodstove Replacement Program

Smoke Pollution and Your Health

Scientific evidence indicates a strong link between air pollution levels and impacts on human health. Burning yard waste in your backyard or improperly using a woodstove for home heating spreads invisible, toxic chemicals throughout the region. These chemicals include dioxins, furans, arsenic, mercury, PCBs, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, hydrochloric acid and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).