Outdoor burning

Outdoor wood burning appliances are not permitted in Kelowna - including fire pits, wood stoves, chimneys and other appliances - unless conditions are met as outlined in Fire and Life Safety  Bylaw No. 10760. The bylaw allows us to impose requirements in relation to municipal services, firecrackers, fireworks and the health, safety or protection of persons or property. 

Current outdoor burning restrictions 

Outdoor burning ban in place for high sensitivity areas

Effective April 15, 2020: until further notice, the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has prohibited all open burning in high sensitivity areas, which includes the Central Okanagan. This extends a previous open burning restriction implemented in March. This action was taken in collaboration with public health officials to help reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province. There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function. Read the media release that was issued to learn more.

Open burning season ends early to support COVID-19 response

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan's Bylaw 773  and Bylaw 1066 states that open burning of agricultural wood waste requires a valid permit and is typically allowed between Oct. 1 and April 30. Further restrictions may be put in place due to fire hazards or other local conditions.

Alternatives to open 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. For more information on open burning and alternatives, please visit the Regional District of the Central Okanagan website.

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. 

Mow-Chip Rent-it Rebate program

Qualifying participants must have a property one hectare or greater in size with a small volume of wood for fuel reduction and/or agricultural activities that can’t be served through the regular agricultural chipping program. The Regional Air Quality Program provides up to 80 per cent of the cost of renting mow/chip equipment or services up to a $500 maximum. Learn more about the Mow-Chip Rent-it program. You can hire a contractor or rent your own machine.

Free year-round yard waste drop off at landfills

Drop off yard waste and prunings that are under 8”/20cm diameter and weighing less than 250 kilograms at the Glenmore Landfill and Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre. There is no cost and you can make a drop off at anytime. Charges apply for heavier loads and woody debris over 8”/20cm diameter. Please visit regionaldistrict.com/recycle, email recycle@cord.bc.ca or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250 for more information. 

Curbside 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 recycle@cord.bc.ca. 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.

Open burning permit information

Kelowna residents that have properties greater than one hectare (2.47 acres) can apply for a permit through the Kelowna Fire Department  at 250-469-8801. There is a $20 fee under the updated Fire & Life Safety Bylaw to help cover administration and inspection costs.

Permit holder rights & responsibilities

The issuing 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. 

After you have received a 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. 

Anyone who’s burning without a permit or breaking the rules of their permit may be subject to fines up to $2,000.

Permitted burning materials include untreated wood, prunings, branches, tree trunks, or other vegetation that have been allowed to dry for at least two years.

It’s illegal to burn prohibited materials, including, but not limited to: 

  • Garbage  
  • 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 being met, call the Regional Fire Dispatch at 250-469-8577.