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Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
Sept. 9, 2019
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
BC Wildfire Service
Open burning prohibitions amended in the Southeast

CASTLEGAR – Effective at noon (Pacific time) on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, Category 2 and Category 3 open burning prohibitions within the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction will be amended, due to a decreased wildfire risk.

A map of the affected areas is available online at:

Category 2 open burning:

Category 2 open burning will be allowed throughout the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

A Category 2 open burn permits: one or two concurrently burning piles, no larger than two metres high by three metres wide, and the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares. The use of fireworks, burn barrels, burn cages, sky lanterns and exploding binary targets will also be allowed.

Category 3 open burning:

Category 3 open burning will be permitted throughout the Arrow, Kootenay Lake and Columbia fire zones within the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

However, a Category 3 open burning prohibition will remain in effect for the Boundary, Invermere and Cranbrook fire zones, where the following activities are still prohibited:

  • any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
  • three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
  • the burning of stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares;
  • the burning of one or more windrows.

Open burning precautions:

Anyone planning to conduct a Category 2 or Category 3 open burn in the Southeast Fire Centre (where permitted) must do the following:

  • Check the local venting index (see website link below). The venting index must be “good” on the day the fire is lit and “good” or “fair” for the following day.
  • Follow the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation.
  • Use safe burning practices: create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material; never leave a fire unattended; make sure that the fire is fully extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
  • Anyone planning to conduct a Category 3 burn must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time (at no charge) by calling 1 888 797-1717. Burn registration numbers are entered in the Open Fire Tracking System, which allows the BC Wildfire Service to track open burning activity throughout B.C.
  • Check with local authorities (e.g. fire department, municipality or regional district) for any local restrictions or regulations.  

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs, as well as the value of resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.

The BC Wildfire Service thanks the public for its continued support, vigilance and co-operation during the fire season.

The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses the area extending from the United States border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain natural resource districts.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to:

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Learn More:

A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online:

Venting index information is available by calling 1 888 281-2992 or visiting:

Ashlene Aktarian
Fire Information Officer
BC Wildfire Service
Southeast Fire Centre
250 365-4056

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: