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Province introduces new open burning regulation

VICTORIA, BC – The provincial government is introducing new regulation for open burning.

The new rules are designed to protect the province’s air quality, as well as the environment by reducing fine particulate matter pollution. 

The new Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation will come into effect on September 15, 2019. The province says the new regulations are meant to replace older “one size fits all” rules for open burning throughout the province, regardless of the location or season. 

“People and communities deserve to have clean air,” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman said. 

“That’s why we are putting new rules in place that will lessen health impacts and allow everyone to breathe a little easier. We are also incentivizing the use of newer and cleaner technology with rules that give more flexibility if advanced burning technology is used to cut pollution.”

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The new regulation includes stricter rules near communities, including shorter burn periods and a requirement to dry out debris, as well as larger setbacks from neighbours, schools and hospitals. 

The new regulation will also allow communities more flexibility to conduct controlled burning, which will reduce fire hazards. 

In BC, open burning is the largest source of fine particulate matter pollution. It contributes to poor air quality in communities and has a wide range of health impacts. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says poor air quality can take a terrible toll on people’s health.

“Given the difficult wildfire seasons our province has faced in recent years, initiatives like this to improve air quality are important, especially to seniors and children who are often the most at risk.” 

The Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation is available online and can be found through this link

More guiding documents will be published ahead of the fall burning season.

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