Outdoor Burning: Best Practices
Residential Fire Pits and Outdoor Wood Burning Appliances
Within the City of Kelowna, outdoor wood burning appliances are not permitted; this includes fire pits, woodstoves, chimneys and other appliances, unless conditions are met as outlined in Bylaw No. 10760.
Different restrictions are in place for other municipalities in the Central Okanagan. Residents in other municipalities should speak with their local Fire Department to see if campfires or wood burning appliances are allowed and if permits are required.
Open Burning Season
According to Bylaw 773 and Bylaw 1066, within the Regional District, open burning requires a valid permit and is only allowed between October 1 and April 30. Further restrictions may be put in place due to fire hazards or other local conditions.
Call Before You Burn
After you have obtained an open burning permit, you must ensure that burning is allowed on the day you want to burn. Call the Regional Open Burning Information Line (toll free) at 1-855-262-2876 to check the Venting Index and Air Quality on the day you plan to burn. Listen to the message to confirm that burning is permitted on that day.
Open burning is only permitted when the Venting Index is 65 or greater and particulate matter (PM 2.5) concentration is less than 15 µg/m3. Anyone that is caught burning without a Burning Permit or breaking the rules of their permit may be subject to fines up to $2000.
Current Open Burning Conditions
Residents with a valid permit are required to check the air quality conditions on the day that they want to burn. Conditions are updated daily at approximately 8:00am. The conditions can also be accessed by calling 1-855-262-BURN(2876).
When conditions allow for burning, fires should not be started until after 10 am as the venting index is rarely good in the morning, and daily measurements are based on afternoon venting conditions.
Only "Permitted burning materials" are allowed to be burned: that means untreated wood, prunings, branches, tree trunks, or other vegetation which have been DRY for at least two years.
It is illegal to burn prohibited materials, including, but not limited to:
- Compostable materials (e.g. leaves, grass clippings)
- Vegetative debris resulting from land cleared for a different use (e.g. farmland to residential development)
Open burning complaints
If you suspect that someone is burning without a permit or the specific requirements are not met, call Fire Dispatch immediately:
Residents that have properties greater than 1 hectare (2.47 acres) can apply for a permit through their local Fire Department Jurisdiction.
In Kelowna, under the Fire & Life Safety Bylaw, a $20 fee will be required as of Jan. 1, 2014 to help cover administration and inspection costs.
- Peachland residents: Peachland Fire Rescue Service 250-767-2841
- Lake Country residents: Lake Country Fire Department 250-766-2327
- West Kelowna residents: West Kelowna Fire/Rescue 250-769-1640
- Ellison, Joe Rich, Wilson’s Landing, North Westside residents: Regional District 250-469-6223 (residents may call collect or use a cell phone to avoid long distance charges)
A local fire department may exempt a permit holder from the venting and air quality regulations when burning is required specifically for a fuel modification project to dispose of fire hazard materials and protect public safety by reducing the potential for interface wildfires. Permit holders may be subject to other conditions from the fire department issuing the permit.
Areas within the Regional District that are outside of a fire protection area fall under the Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. Residents may contact the Regional District at 250-469-6223 to confirm that they are outside of a fire protection area. For more information about Outdoor Burning Information, click here.
Open Burning Best Practices
Once you have considered alternatives to burning, applied for and received a valid open burning permit, please follow these open burning best practices:
- Call the Regional Open Burning Information line on the day you want to burn at 1-855- 262-2876 to ensure that burning is permitted
- Do not start burning until after 10am, as conditions are usually poor for venting smoke before that time
- Stumps and branches over 8” in diameter must be dried for a minimum of two years or measure under 50% dryness, in accordance with local bylaws
- Prunings and small branches must be dry before burning
- Make smaller piles, with good air ventilation for efficient burning
- Check wind direction to keep smoke away from neighbours
Alternatives to Outdoor Burning
Farmers, orchardists and residents are encouraged to take advantage of other options such as chipping, flail mowing, or air curtain burning to help reduce smoke pollution.
Free Agricultural Chipping Program
The Regional Air Quality Program offers a free service for Central Okanagan orchardists who want to chip wood waste material from an orchard removal. This type of debris typically includes stumps and large branches. Contact the Regional Air Quality Coordinator at 250-469-8408 or visit the program page for more information.
Grinding or chipping wood waste produces valuable woodchips that can be used as a ground cover or mulch. Depending on your needs, you can hire a contractor or rent your own machine. Search online under wood chipping, tree service, machine rentals, etc. to find a company that suits your needs.
Free Year-round Yard Waste Drop Off at Landfills
Drop off yard waste and prunings (under 8”/20cm diameter) weighing less than 250 kg anytime for free at the Glenmore Landfill and Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre. Charges apply for heavier loads and woody debris over 8”/20cm diameter. Please visit regionaldistrict.com/recycle, email email@example.com or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250 for more information.
Curb side Yard Waste Pickup
Bi-weekly curb side collection runs March through November. Consult your Living Greener Calendar or contact the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250 469-6250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Air Curtain Burning uses forced air to burn wood faster and with less smoke. Contact your local Fire Department to learn more about forced air incineration options for burning agricultural or land clearing wood waste.
How the Venting Index is calculated?
Open Burning brochure
Regional Air Quality Coordinator