Open burning restrictions in place since the end of March have been lifted across Metro Vancouver, but this does not apply to Pitt Meadows or Maple Ridge.
Fire chief Mike Larsson wants to remind residents that there is no open burning permitted – period – within the city.
“We still have the burning bylaw in place since 2009,” explained Larsson.
“We don’t allow backyard burning. No fire pit, unless it’s propane,” he said.
There are two agricultural burning seasons allowed in Pitt Meadows – one runs three months in the spring and the other three months in the fall, and Larsson said, that is by permit only.
This year, though, spring burns were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
“Right now there are no backyard fires permitted in Maple Ridge,”said Maple Ridge fire chief Howard Exner.
However, as of June 1, a ban on recreational, or campfires, in the City of Maple Ridge was lifted.
Those fires, though, are not meant to get rid of green waste, said Exner, which is what the purpose of the backyard fire or type two fire is.
Open burning restrictions that were put in place on March 27 by Metro Vancouver, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and their provincial public health partners, were lifted June 16.
These restrictions were in place to reduce air pollution that could lead to more severe COVID-19 infections across the province, or, simply, could lead to more infections overall.
So, any open burning activities in the region can now take place as long as they are authorized through an Open Burn Approval obtained from the Metro Vancouver Regional District, in addition to any authorization as required by municipal fire departments or the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Metro Vancouver is responsible for managing and regulating air contaminants in the region under authority delegated by the B.C. Environmental Management Act.
And, the federation, made up of 21 municipalities, one electoral area and the Tsawwassen First Nation, has said they will continue to monitor air quality as well as the COVID-19 situation.
This includes developing and implementing plans, policies, regulations and projects to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – plans and policies supported by comprehensive monitoring of outdoor air quality, and tracking of emissions in the Lower Fraser Valley airshed.
Metro Vancouver is encouraging residents and businesses to continue to follow the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.
The next permitting period for agricultural burns in Pitt Meadows starts in September, said Larsson.
Burns can only take place on ALR land during a five-day window.
However, advised Larsson, residents with a burn permit must contact Metro Vancouver every day during those five days to make sure burning is allowed.
The next period for backyard fires in Maple Ridge will be from October 15 to November 15.
“If it is still prudent to have one then,” added Exner.