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Nelson Fire Chief approves fall burning period

By Contributor
October 14th, 2019

Nelson Fire & Rescue Services Chief Len MacCharles is encouraging residents to reduce the amount of deadfall, woody debris and long grasses around their homes to minimize the fire risk posed by these ground fuels ahead of next year’s wildfire season. The spring and fall are good times to reduce the amount of fuel around your home that could ignite from an ember shower from a nearby wildfire during wildfire season.

Many residents are cleaning up their yard in preparation for winter and Nelson Fire is strongly suggesting that residents remove all coniferous plants that are within 1.5m (5ft) of their home.

Earlier this year, in the interest of promoting FireSmart principles to reduce structure fires due to ember showers from a wildfire, City Council passed a bylaw preventing the new planting of coniferous plants within 1.5m of structures. Chief MacCharles points out that “90% of structures lost due to wildfires are caused by flying hot embers and brands that can travel up to 2 kilometres, so removing these easily ignited plants from right near your home can make a huge difference.”

Nelson Fire & Rescue Services suggest the best way for residents to rid their properties of these fuels is to take them to the Grohman Narrows Transfer Station. Charges are only $5 per load for yard waste loads up to 2.5 cubic metres ($50 for large loads and $25/tonne if chipped).

Alternatively, the Chief has approved a burn period subject to weather and local fire conditions beginning October 9 to November 3, 2019 (inclusive). This burn period is for the purpose of reducing non-compostable woody debris, which is clean, dry unstained, untreated wood resulting from residential yard clean up. 

This does not include the burning of yard waste or vegetative matter such as leaves, grass clippings, vegetable stalks or similar. It is for woody debris and branches less than 3cm (1 ¼ in) in thickness and can only be burned on days with ‘GOOD’ venting. Burning requires a permit issued by Nelson Fire and is subject to the following conditions (excerpt from Bylaw No. 3268, 2014):

  1. a competent person:

    1. must be at all times present and in charge of the fire while burning or smoldering;
    2. must be provided with efficient appliances and equipment to prevent the fire from getting beyond control or causing damage or becoming dangerous to life or property;
    3. must ensure that such fire is completely extinguished;
  2. no burning maybe carried out within 5 metres from any forest land, Buildings, structures, commercial or industrial property or any Combustibles;

    1. burning may only be carried out during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.;
  3. only clean, dry, solid and untreated wood and Woody Debris collected or accumulated from the Owner or Occupant’s land on which the burning will take place may be burned;

    1. no pile of burning Woody Debris may exceed 1.5 metres in diameter or 1 metre in height;
  4. accelerants, building materials and non-organic material are not permitted and may not be burned;

    1. despite the issuance of a permit, no burning maybe carried out if:

      1. it would be unsafe to do so due to climatic conditions or any other hazard;
      2. if the air quality venting index is not ‘GOOD’ or is otherwise deemed by the Ministry of Environment or Ministry of Health to be not suitable for burning; and
  5. the Owner or Occupant must provide proof of fire insurance in a form and with content and deductible satisfactory to the Fire Chief;
  • Permits must be acquired in person, at Nelson Fire & Rescue Services, located at 919 Ward Street, and payment for the $10 fee can be paid by cash or cheque at the time of issuance and proof of fire/liability insurance for the property conducting the burning.


    Residents are required to follow the Ministry of Environment’s Venting Index guidelines ( (or call 1-888-281-2992)

    and only burn on days when venting is listed as “Good” on the day of burning to minimize any accumulation of smoke-caused air pollution. Residents are also required to report to Nelson Fire & Rescue on the days they intend to burn.


    Contravention of Bylaw No. 3268 may result in suspension or revocation of the permit and/or a fine or fee for service.


    The Corporation of the City of Nelson Bylaw No. 3268 can be found via the City of Nelson Website. 



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