Bow Horn Bay Fire Department

CURRENT FIRE restrictions

Effective at noon Pacific Daylight Time on Friday, May 17, 2024, most open burning activities will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. This prohibition is being enacted to help reduce wildfire risk and protect public safety.

Category 2 and Category 3 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre's jurisdiction. This prohibition will be in place until October 31, 2024, or until the order is rescinded.

A map of the affected areas is available online:

This prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). Residents are asked to check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

Specifically, this prohibition refers to the following activities:

  • "category 2 open fire" which means an open fire, other than a category 1 campfire, that
  • burns material in one pile not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width,
  • burns material concurrently in 2 piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width, or
  • burns stubble or grass over an area that does not exceed 0.2 ha.
  • "category 3 open fire" which means an open fire that burns
  • material concurrently in 3 or more piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width,
  • material in one or more piles each exceeding 2 m in height or 3 m in width,
  • one or more windrows, each not exceeding 200 m in length or 15 m in width,
  • stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 ha.
  • Also prohibited are the activities listed below (Wildfire Act, Section 12):
  • Fireworks;
  • Sky Lanterns;
  • Binary Exploding Targets;
  • Burn Barrels or Burn Cages of any size or description; and,
  • Air Curtain Burners.


This prohibition does not apply to Category 1 - Campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane, or briquettes.

Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area and have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers all the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.




Check out this great tool updated by the RDN.  It shows all the local fire departments with links to their websites, contact info, the venting index, burning bylaw, and bans:


Open burning - or burning outdoors - is allowed when the wildfire risk is low, however, there are important rules and regulations to follow for campfires to burn piles.  Before starting any fire on your property, check to see that it complies with our municipal bylaws and provincial regulations. 





We live in an area considered a "high smoke sensitivity zone" and any outdoor burning requires us to follow the Venting Index.  The Venting Index reflects the potential of the atmosphere to disperse smoke and other pollutants. The Ventilation Index ranges from 0 to 100, as summarized in this table: 

Ventilation Index

Ventilation Category

0 - 33


34 - 54


55 - 100


The Venting Index must register as "GOOD" (55-100) in order to burn.  "GOOD" means the smoke is more likely to disperse; "POOR" indicates that the pollution is more likely to hang or drop to lower elevations.   It is the combination of ventilation forecast and smoke sensitivity zone at your location that determines if you can burn and for how long.

An automated telephone service that provides information about the ventilation index can be reached by dialing 1-888-281-2992 (toll-free).  

Click on the link below to find out today's Venting Index, our area is listed as: CNTRL VAN ISLD



A permit is required when burning a pile larger than 10' x 10'. 

To obtain a Burn Registration Number in advance of your fire, call 1-888-797-1717 (toll-free).




Have a question about burning in the Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Spider Lake & Horne Lake area's? 

Call BOW HORN BAY FIRE DEPARTMENT on 250-757-9433.  We are here to help!