Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - BC Wildfire Service

Burning FAQ

What is a "prescribed burn?"

The answer is found on the following page:

If the Forest Service carried out more prescribed burning prior to this fire season, could more fires be prevented?

Decades of fire suppression have resulted in a build-up of forest fuels, tree encroachment on grasslands, and in-filling of some forests of the southern interior. In some cases, prescribed burning cannot be undertaken without prior thinning of the forests.

The Forest Service consults with and assists communities in fire-prone areas with fuel management, including prescribed burning.

How do I know if there are burning restrictions in my area?

Forest Service officials notify the public of burning restrictions through notices to local newspapers and radio stations. People are also advised to check with their local fire department, municipality, improvement district or regional district to find out if there are local bylaws about open burning.

More information is found on the following page:

Do I have to do anything when planning a backyard burn?

Backyard burning under the Wildfire Act is known as a Category 2 open fire. Category 2 open fires burn waste material in one pile not exceeding 2m in height and 3m in width.

Before planning a backyard burn, consider alternate forms of disposal such as recycling, composting, chipping, or burying the material. Some communities have established recycling programs for cardboard, paper and other debris, while others have community composting locations.

In order to protect the air around our neighbourhoods and province, fire should only be used when all other options have been exhausted. It is also important to note that the burn can only be conducted when the venting, the air’s ability to dissipate smoke, is good and forecast to be good for the duration of the burn.

If you live within a municipality or regional district, please check with your local authorities before lighting a fire.

Read the guidelines for Category 2 open fire (backyard burning) for more information.

What if I'm planning a larger fire?

There are five types of open fire, each with their own requirements under the Wildfire Act. Please review the requirements for the various types of open fire before starting to burn.

Still not sure?

If you need help planning your burning activities, call us at
1-888-797-1717 or contact the B.C. Forest Service Fire Centre office nearest you: