Outdoor Open Air Fires of any type are currently prohibited by the province (including Sooke), with the exception of small campfires (clean, split wood; contained ring; 2 feet diameter max; 20 feet from property lines; adult and water source present at all times). Campfires are currently permitted as long as residents are compliant with these requirements.
Direct burning complaints to the Bylaw Dept. 250-642-1634 (ask for Bylaw) After hours, contact: 250-642-1633.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is an Open Air Fire?
- When can I have an Open Air Fire?
- Do I need a permit?
The District of Sooke permits Open Air burning in accordance the Fire Protection Services Bylaw .
An Open Air Fire means a fire lit outdoors in the open air, but DOES NOT include:
- a fire lit for Fire Department training exercises;
- outdoor cooking fires, provided the fire is contained in a device or fixture designed for such purpose and the fire is only burning clean and dry wood or charcoal;
- outdoor fires in fire pits approved by the Fire Chief for use in designated campgrounds or tourist parks; and
- outdoor fires in fire pits, provided that:
- a. the fire is contained in a masonry or metal pit not to exceed 0.60 metres (24 inches) in diameter;
- the fire pit is located a minimum of 6 metres (20 feet) from all property lines and buildings and 3 metres (10 feet) from all grass, shrubbery, wood, and all other combustible material;
- a garden hose or immediate source of water is readily available at all times the fire is lit; and
- the fire is not lit before 6:00 AM and is fully extinguished by 1:00 AM (applicable to small campfires only – backyard yard and garden debris during daylight hours only)
Open air burning of yard and garden debris is usually permitted in Sooke from October 1st to May 31st each year (currently prohibited by the province until further notice due to COVID-19 pandemic), subject to general conditions, including:
- the fire is for the purpose of tidying the premises;
- the fire burns only between sunrise and sunset of the same day;
- the yard debris is thoroughly dried and fed to the fire in a manner that safely burns the yard debris as quickly as possible;
- the conditions ensure proper combustion of the yard debris without risk of igniting surrounding material if left unattended;
- the person supervising the fire takes reasonable precautions to prevent smoke generated
- the fire is on the person’s property and is at least 6 metres (20 feet) from all property lines and buildings and at least 3 metres (10 feet) away from any wild grassland, shrubs, trees and wooden fence.
Permit Not Required:
WITHIN the Sewer Specified Area (SSA) and on properties smaller than 2500 sq meters (0.6 acres), open burning of yard and garden debris is allowed without a permit subject to the above general conditions and only on days when the BC Government Venting Index for Southern Vancouver Island (SRN VAN ISLD) is rated Fair or Good.
WITHIN the Sewer Specified Area (SSA) and on properties greater than 2500 sq meters (0.6 acres), open burning of yard and garden debris is allowed without a permit any day subject to the above general conditions and the following size limitations:
- On properties up to 0.8 hectares (2 acres) the fire cannot exceed 1m x 2m x 2m (3ft x 6 ft x 6ft) in size.
- On properties larger than 0.8 hectares (2 acres) and up to 2 hectares (5 acres) – 2 piles of the above size or 1 pile not to exceed 2m x 2 m x 2m (6ft x 6ft x 6ft) in size.
- On properties larger than 2 hectares (5 acres) the maximum burn pile size cannot exceed 2m x 3m x 3m (6 ft x 9 ft x 9ft)
OUTSIDE the Sewer Specified Area (SSA) open burning of yard and garden debris is allowed without a permit any day subject to the above general conditions and the following size limitations:
- Land clearing or machine built piles on properties greater than 10 acres in any area will require a permit issued by the fire department and are subject to the applicable Provincial Regulations (ie. Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations).