After hard work by volunteers for Breathe Clean Air and Cumberland Families for Clean Air, the Cumberland Council voted narrowly to ban backyard burning on October 11th! The bylaw change is to come into effect next spring.
The decision is a welcome relief to those who live next door to people who insist on burning leaves and green branches (and other materials) even though Cumberland has curbside pick-up of yard waste. The unhealthy smoke from these fires travels across property lines, often stinking up neighbours’ homes and interfering with the enjoyment of their own yards.
Small recreational campfires will still be allowed; neighbours and enforcement personnel will need to help ensure people don’t use “recreational” fires to burn their yard waste.
Courtenay and Comox have had a ban on backyard burning for many years (including recreational fires in most locations). Unfortunately, the rest of CVRD still allows burning at certain times of year and under conditions that are often ignored. Fires require constant supervision and no one is allowed to burn garbage, rubber, plastics, treated lumber, animal waste or a number of other toxic materials.
All sizes of fires for land clearing, forestry, agriculture and similar activities are governed by the province’s Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations (OBSCR). The regulations outline what can be burned, when, and for how long.
For more information on the OBSCR, see BC’s Guide. The regulations are in the process of being updated and will become more restrictive for burns near heavily populated areas.