Skip to content

Category 3 open burning to be banned in the Kootenays

Ban is effective May 17, does not include campfires or slightly larger Category 2 open fires
The BC Wildfire Service will enact a ban on Category 3 Open Burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of May 17. Black Press file.

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) has announced that Category 3 open burning will be banned throughout the Southeast Fire Centre (SEFC) as of 12 p.m. MDT on Friday, May 17.

The SEFC includes the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District and the Selkirk Natural Resource District.

According to the BCWS, the ban is a matter of public safety and will aid in the prevention of wildfires potentially caused by Category 3 open burning.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfire season arrives with growing bans and 115 fires already burning

Category 3 open fires refers to an open fire that burns:

• Material concurrently in 3 or more piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 metres in width

• Material in one or more piles each exceeding two metres in height or 3 m in width

• One or more windrows, each not exceeding 200 metres in length or 15 metres in width

• Stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 hectares

Anyone who is currently conducting a fire within those categorizations is required to extinguish it before the May 17 deadline.

The ban applies to all public and private land unless otherwise specified, for example in a local government bylaw. Residents are encouraged to contact their local government before lighting any fire.

The BCWS said that anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition could be given a $1,150 ticket or required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000.

If convicted in court, an individual could be fined up to $100,000 and could face up to one year in jail. If the fire lit in contravention of the ban causes or contributes to a wildfire, that person could also be ordered to pay for firefighting and other associated costs.

This ban will be in effect until Oct. 28, 2024 or until the order is rescinded.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire or open burning violation, contact 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a mobile phone.

Learn more about current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air-quality advisories at

There are currently over 100 fires burning in B.C.

READ MORE: As B.C. regions place fire bans, Kootenay officials monitor local conditions

About the Author: Paul Rodgers

Read more