Outdoor Burning


Open Burning 

Open Burning Season ends April 30th - View News Release
Under RDCO  Bylaw 773  and Bylaw 1066, open burning requires a valid permit and is only allowed between October 1st and April 30th unless further restrictions are 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/venting conditions on the day that they want to burn. Conditions are updated daily at approximately 8:00 am. 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: 

  • Garbage  
  • Compostable materials (e.g. leaves, grass clippings)
  • Vegetative debris resulting from land cleared for a different use (e.g. farmland to residential development)

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Permit Information

Residents that have properties greater than 1 hectare (2.47 acres) can apply for a permit through their local Fire Department jurisdiction. 

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. 

Here are the active Burn Permits issued by the Regional District for property owners within the Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside and Wilson's Landing Fire Protection areas (updated monthly during outdoor burning season)
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 view Outdoor Burning Information.  

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Open burning Complaints / Illegal Burning

If you suspect that someone is burning without a permit or the specific requirements are not met, call Regional Fire Dispatch immediately:  250-469-8577

Here are the active Burn Permits issued by the Regional District for property owners within the Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside and Wilson's Landing Fire Protection areas (updated monthly during outdoor burning season)

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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

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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.  More Information?

  • 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% of the cost of renting mow/chip equipment or services up to a $500 maximum. Visit the Mow-Chip Rent-it program for more information. 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.

  • 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.

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Campfires, Residential Fire Pits and Outdoor Wood Burning Appliances

  • Click to check if there is a campfire ban in place for the Central Okanagan

Campfires and outdoor wood burning appliances are not permitted in the City of Kelowna including fire pits, woodstoves, chimneys and other appliances, unless conditions are met as outlined in Bylaw No. 10760.  You can still use an outdoor appliance in the City of Kelowna if the appliance is CSA/ULC, CGA or equivalent approved and is fueled by natural gas, propane, gel or charcoal. 

Different restrictions are in place for other municipalities in the Central Okanagan, please check your local bylaws. If uncertain or have any questions, residents should speak with their local Fire Department to see if campfires or wood burning appliances are allowed and if permits/special conditions are required.

Central Okanagan Campfire Info and Links

  • City of Kelowna Bylaw 10760 - No Wood Campfires Allowed
  • City of West Kelowna Bylaw 0114 - Wood Campfires Allowed, No Permit Required
  • District of Lake Country Bylaw 612 - Wood Campfires Allowed, No Permit Required
  • District of Peachland Bylaw 1718 - Wood Campfires Allowed, Permit Required
  • Regional District Fire Protection Areas Bylaws 773 and 1066 - Wood Campfires Allowed, No Permit Required
  • Westbank First Nation 2005-11 - Wood Campfires Allowed, No Permit Required

In order to prevent health issues and nuisance, it is recommended that campfires should be avoided when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.

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How the Venting Index is calculated? 
Open Burning brochure  

Contact Us
Regional Air Quality Coordinator

Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)