For the first time since the fall of 2010, open burning season in the Central Okanagan will begin as it normally does on Oct. 1. During the past two years, dry conditions caused a delay in the start of open burning for those eligible property owners.
Under regional dDistrict and local fire bylaws, permitted open burning may start Oct. 1 and must be complete by April 30. Fire chiefs may however change the dates depending on the fire hazard in their area.
Starting Tuesday, those people with properties greater than one hectare will be allowed to burn outdoors, but only after receiving a permit from their local fire authority and only after confirming that burning is allowed on a particular day. Farmers and large lot owners must also follow any regulations before lighting any fire.
Eligible property owners within the Central Okanagan East or the Central Okanagan West electoral areas may obtain a permit by calling the Regional District at 250-469-6223 (Long Distance Collect Calls are accepted) weekdays only between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, excluding holidays. All other eligible property owners must obtain a permit from their municipal fire department.
Before lighting any fire, eligible property owners with a valid permit must call the toll-free Outdoor Burning Hotline: 1-855-262-2876 (BURN). It will tell them if open burning is allowed on a particular day. Both the Venting and Air Quality must be good in order for burning to occur within Central Okanagan fire jurisdictions. This information is also available each day after 7:15 am at regionaldistrict.com/airquality.
Under the Regional District Smoke Control Bylaw, creating nuisance smoke from open burning is not allowed in the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, District of West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas or under the bylaws of the District of Peachland.
Violators could receive a fine or be charged with the cost of putting out the fire. Residents are encouraged to report anyone illegally burning on a non-burning day by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Center at 250-469-8577.
All Central Okanagan property owners regardless of property size are encouraged to take advantage of other options to dispose of their yard waste. The bi-weekly curbside yard waste collection program is underway through the end of November and residents are reminded to only place leaves, grass, pine needles and small prunings inside their wheeled yard waste cart with the green lid closed.
Residents may also choose to use the year-round free yard waste program at either the Glenmore landfill (Open seven days a week 7:30 am to 4:45 pm) or at the Westside Residential Waste Disposal Centre (Open 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Friday through Monday). Yard waste and pruning’s weighing up to 250 kilograms (550 pounds) and 20 centimeters or less in diameter may be dropped off for free at either location.
When transporting loads for disposal, please make sure they are covered. As long as yard waste is separated from regular garbage, loads exceeding the maximum weight up to 20 centimeters in diameter will be charged $40.00 per tonne while those with a larger diameter will be charged $65 a tonne. As well, a number of private companies offer wood chipping and grinding services or rent portable chippers. Some may also pick up yard waste for disposal.
Most of the burning permits that are issued in the Central Okanagan are for agricultural burning, which is allowed under Provincial Right to Farm legislation. However, before starting any fire farmers must also call 1-855-262-2876 (BURN) or visit regionaldistrict.com/airquality to ensure burning is allowed. The Regional Air Quality Program is working with farmers to encourage the use of the Agricultural Chipping Program as an alternate disposal method.