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 Burn Regulations 

If you have an emergency, please call 911. If you’re concerned about a Gabriola fire that is not an emergency, contact the duty officer.

If you want to know if you can have a fire please follow this link to visit our Can I burn page.


NEW! Coastal Fire Centre to enact a Category 2 and Category 3 open fire prohibition May 17th 2024, click here for more information.

New provincial open burning regulations

New regulations came into effect on September 15, 2019.

Click here to go to the Province’s Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation web page.

Gabriola’s open burning and safety regulations

This is a summary of frequently asked questions regarding the Gabriola Fire Protection District Bylaws. If you need more details, please contact the Fire Chief.

(Many of the restrictions that affect Gabriola are Provincial statutes, such as the Environmental Management Act.)


Open burning

  • Open burning is defined as “any fire where the products of combustion are not conveyed to and disposed of by an approved chimney.” For the purpose of this article we are not discussing household wood heaters, except where noted.

  • Any open burning must be continuously attended by the permit holder, property owner or a competent person appointed by them for the duration of the fire. It is their legal obligation to tend the fire and to ensure it is extinguished upon completion.

  • Any fire may be ordered to be extinguished if it is deemed to be a hazard by the Fire Chief or the Duty Officer.

  • Any costs incurred for extinguishing a fire may be charged to the property owner if costs resulted from carelessness or a disregard of the burning regulations.


Fire Season

Fire season is between April 1st and October 15th, unless dryness forces these dates to be changed. During this period, the Wildfire Hazard Ratings signs, located at the Post Office and on Taylor Bay Road, indicate the fire hazard status. This information is also available on this website, and by calling No. 1 Hall (250-247-9677) for the message line. For more information on Wildfire Hazard Ratings follow this link.

Fire Permits

All open burning with fires larger than 1/8 cubic meter require a permit from the GVFD. 

All burn piles are subject to Inspection prior to issuance of a burn permit.


Permits are only issued at the office from Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Please contact the office (250-247-9677)

Click here to view a pdf version of our Open Burning Permit.



  • Burn Barrels 200L(55Gal) or less and fires no larger than 1/8 Cubic Meters (0.5m by 0.5m by 0.5m) can be burned all year without a permit, provided no restrictions are in force. They are prohibited when our wildfire hazard rating is high with early shift or extreme.

  • A 1 metre perimeter of non-combustible material must surround these fires and a a safe distance from combustible growth or objects must be maintained.

  • A charged hose or 20L(5Gal) pail of water and a shovel must be kept available.



  • No fires shall be lit or maintained when there is wind strong enough to cause sparks or other burning materials to land in any combustible material in the vicinity.

Vent Index

  • No fires shall be lit or maintained when the vent index is Poor the current vent index is available here.


  • All fires must be tended so as to minimize the emissions of smoke.

  • When the burn is completed or the permit expires, the fire must be completely extinguished, with no smoke being emitted.

  • If the smoke is impacting on neighbors, any burn may be required to be terminated.

  • Burning should only be done when the vent index is fair or good, you can view the vent index here.


Propane-powered burning

  • Propane and briquette barbecues and hibachis, as well as propane fireplaces, are permitted during all fire rating levels.

  • Propane fireplaces must not have flames larger than 6″, and extreme care must be taken with all appliances during dry weather.


Charcoal-powered burning

  • Hibachis and similar charcoal-burning stoves are permitted during all fire rating levels provided they are operated properly/safely.


Burning of Prohibited Materials

  • Certain materials are prohibited from being burned under the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Management Act.

  • This applies to materials burned in household wood heaters as well as open burning .

  • Some of these items are: tires, plastics, drywall, demolition waste, domestic waste, paint, tar paper, rubber, treated lumber, railway ties, manure, asphalt and products, fuel and lubricant containers, biomedical waste and special wastes.

  • Burning of wastes from businesses is also prohibited by this provincial legislation. Violations of these rules will be reported to the Ministry of Environment.

For More Information please read:

Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District  BYLAW 102

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