It’s officially burning season in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, as residents of all nine electoral areas are permitted to burn between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15.
Regional District officials warn, however, there are rules to abide by before striking a match.
Only one burn pile no larger than two square metres is permitted and only untreated natural wood, prunings and branches can be burned. The pile must be at least 10 metres from all property lines.
Burning can only happen between 7 a.m. and sunset of the same day, and is only allowed when the BC Southern Vancouver Island Venting Index is rated good.
In a valley, the smoke won’t disperse if the venting index is rated as poor or fair.
Burning isn’t the only way to rid yards of waste, however.
“We want to remind residents that there are great alternatives to open burning,” said CVRD board chair Ian Morrison. According to a news release, the CVRD suggests visiting your area transfer station to dispose of your yard waste.
“CVRD recycling centres accept yard waste free of charge, and yard waste like leaves makes great compost,” said the release.
There’s also an argument to leave the leaves on the ground: they make good hiding spots for bees and butterflies over the winter.
They’re also fun to jump in.
“And those few without options who are still planning to burn need to check the venting index prior to lighting up to ensure they aren’t needlessly polluting the air we’re breathing,” Morrison said.
The City of Duncan and the Towns of Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan do not permit backyard burning at all.
In North Cowichan, residents need to know that burning within the urban containment boundary can only occur with a permit on properties larger than two acres and just between Sept. 15 and Nov. 30 and March 15 and April 15 and once again only when the provincial venting index is good. Open burns are prohibited entirely on properties less than two acres in size. Campfires are still allowed.
To report illegal burns within the CVRD, call the bylaw officer at 250-756-2620 or after hours leave a message at 250-746-2500. In North Cowichan call 250-746-3100, in Duncan call 250-746-6126, in Lake Cowichan call 250-749-6681 and in Ladysmith call 250-245-6400.