Monthly Archives: January 2008

Class A (Large Pile) Burning Rules

We are often asked what the permit requirements are for burning land clearing piles in the Willis Point Fire Protection District.  The short answer is that each situation is different.  The requirements on the permit will vary depending on the site, the time of year, and the surrounding land.  However, to answer a few questions we have prepared the following notes.


Class A – Machine Pile Burning Requirements


A machine pile or “Class A” Burning is defined as one pile of land clearing debris exceeding 2m in height and 3m in diameter, or several simultaneous piles of less than 2m in height and 3m in diameter.


It is important to note that the more stringent rules imposed by the local fire department override any provincial or regional rules.


There are several mandatory step that must be taken before Class A burning can be permitted:


  • A Class A burning permit must be obtained from the local fire department. A permit fee of $500 must be paid before the permit is issued.
    • These permits are issued by the Fire Chief and are only issued in the wettest months of the year, generally December through February.   
    • Class A permits are only valid for a specific 72 hour period. 
    • Fires must be put out each night unless special authorization is granted from the local chief.
    • Other conditions will be imposed including 24 hour supervision, heavy equipment, and a fire suppression system onsite.  These conditions will be detailed on the burning permit.
    • Instead of starting with one large pile, the burn pile must start small and be fed new fuel throughout the burn.
  • The person wishing to burn must call the BC Burn Registration line at 1 888 797 1717 and register their burn prior to burning. 
  • Immediately before lighting the fire, the “BC ventilation index” must be checked.  The index must be good or better for the region in question.  If not, the burn must be postponed to a later date. This can be checked at  Select the coast region and then lower Vancouver Island.  If the venting index drops below good the fire must be extinguished.
  • During the duration of the burn the local fire department will inspect the burn at random times.  If the burn is in violation of CRD burning bylaw #3452 fines will, without exception, be issued and the burn may be ordered to be extinguished.  If fire crews are required to extinguish the burn the permit holder will be responsible for costs.
  • The fire must be completely extinguished at the end of the burning permit period.

Other Information

  • A fire department vehicle and crew can be hired at the standard provincial rates to standby at the property.
  • All costs associated with the burn are the responsibility of the person wishing to burn.
  • In situations where it is reasonably deemed by the Fire Chief as unsafe to burn the Fire Chief can require that debris is chipped and removed.
  • The Fire Chief has the right to enter the property at any time to ensure that the burning bylaw and permit requirements are being followed.