Gabriola’s burning 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.

New provincial open burning regulations

New regulations came into effect on September 15, 2019.

All open burning with fires larger than 1 cubic meter require a permit from the GVFD.  Please contact the office (250-247-9677) or the duty officer (250-755-9289) for more information.

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 unseasonable 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 by calling No. 1 Hall (250-247-9677) for the message line.

Wildfire Hazard Ratings

  • Low: normal operations. For more details, see our low wildfire hazard status page.
  • Moderate: normal operations. For more details, see our moderate wildfire hazard status page.
  • High: burning permits are no longer issued, but burn barrels and non-permit fires (smaller than 1 cubic metre) are still allowed UNLESS A BURNING BAN IS IN PLACE. For more details, see our high wildfire hazard status page.
  • Early shift: Open burning is not permitted. 1:00 p.m. stopping time for many private and industrial operations, including all powered equipment such as chainsaws, lawnmowers, weed eaters, chippers, etc. For more information, see our high with early shift wildfire hazard status page.
  • Extreme: continues the ban on all open burning and operation of powered equipment at any time. This level is also accompanied by a SHUTDOWN sign, which indicates that many industrial operations, such as logging, are suspended. Certain operations may be allowed to continue on a site specific basis, depending on the job classification hazard rating as determined by the Ministry of Forests. A watchman is require to remain at the work site for 1 hour after work has stopped as a precaution against fire, and must have quick access to a telephone in case of an emergency. For more information, see our extreme wildfire hazard status page.

Fire Permits

Class A fire permits

  • Class A permits are a 4 day duration and are required to burn any pile larger than 2m by 2m by 2m containing stumps and other land clearing debris.
  • Class A permits are required all year.
  • Class A permits are restricted to piles located not less than 100m from another residence or business and not less than 500m from a school in session.
  • Class A fires must be located a safe distance from combustible growth or objects.
  • An excavator or equivalent must be available to keep the pile burning hot for the duration of the fire.
  • A good ventilation index reading is also required before burning an A permit pile. This information is obtained by phoning 1-888-281-2992.
  • A change in the ventilation index or smoke impacting on neighbours may require burning to be terminated before the permit expires.
  • Class A permits are available only from the Fire Chief’s office.

Class B fire permits

  • Class B fires require a permit only during the fire season.
  • These piles can be no larger than 2m by 2m by 2m and cannot contain stumps or pieces of debris larger than 4 inches in diameter.
  • They must be burned up and extinguished in 24 hours and must be located a safe distance from combustible growth or objects.
  • Class B permits are only available from the Fire Chief’s office.


  • Incinerators and fires no larger than one cubic metre (1m by 1m by 1m) 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 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.


  • 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 neighbours, any burn may be required to be terminated.

Beach fires

  • Beach fires are not permitted during fire season without written permission from the Fire Chief’s office.
  • This regulation includes the tidal area out 100m from the shoreline.

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 applianced during dry weather.

Charcoal-powered burning

  • Hibatchis and similar charcoal-burning stoves are permitted druing all fire rating levels.

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.

Please see the learn section of our website; it has information everyone on Gabriola should read. Content includes fire safety inspections, smoke detectors, address signs, and driveway access on acerage. You’ll also see pages that explain how you can reduce the risk to your house if a wildfire occurs on Gabriola.