Open burning is the largest single source of fine particulate matter pollution in BC and the Ministry of Environment is introducing new open burning rules which take effect on September 15.

The new rules will monitor the open burning of logging slash and other burning material and replace the outdated, cookie-cutter regulations for provincial burning, regardless of location or the reason for burning.

Senior Air Quality Science Officer with the Ministry of Environment Markus Kellerhals explains what some of the regulations cover.

“How close you can burn to a neighbour, a neighbouring house, for instance, there are requirements for that and also the weather conditions under which you are allowed to burn,” said Kellerhals. “Sometimes the weather is such that the pollution from a burn mixes away really well and other times the pollution sits near the ground, so we have the measurement of that and people can use that to judge when to burn.”

Kellerhals said people will need to complete their burns faster to ensure that the air is safe to breathe.

“Once they start burning, they are going to have to complete that burn in a shorter period of time and that applies for the burning that’s close to communities,” said Kellerhals. “In some [remote] areas were actually making it easier for burning to take place, where there’s not a risk to air quality in communities.”

More information about these burning regulations will be available at the BC Air Quality website in the coming weeks.