Council cancelled the fall 2020 burning season on agricultural lands to reduce the potential for “negative health impacts” from particulate matter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They did the same thing at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, authorizing the Chilliwack Fire Chief to cancel what was left of the spring 2020 season.
Normally outdoor burning on ag land by farmers and ag contractors is restricted to twice a year – during the fall and spring for about a month each time.
After a robust discussion on Sept. 15, council voted 4-2 to cancel the fall outdoor burning season, which would have otherwise gotten underway on Oct. 1 and run until Nov. 30. Burning outside of those designated seasons is always prohibited.
Coun. Jeff Shields wanted to see any qualifying ag operators have the option of getting the equivalent cost of a $25 burn permit to allow 800 pounds of material deposited at the Parr Road green depot.
City councillors Harv Westeringh and Chris Kloot voted against cancelling the fall burn season completely, advocating the other option the staff report provided: a shortened season as opposed to an outright cancelled one.
They argued allowing some burning this fall would prevent stockpiling of materials until spring, which would make that burn season even worse than normal.
Fines of $250 or more can be issued through the fire regulation bylaw for outdoor burning, and the public can confirm with the Bylaw Department at 604.793.2908 the areas in question.
Burning restrictions do not apply to gas fuelled appliances such as BBQs, or outdoor gas heaters. Certified gas-fired outdoor fireplace appliances are permitted as long as all clearances are being met.
The fall burning season typically runs from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, and allows operators on agricultural land to burn.
The public is asked to contact Chilliwack Fire Department at 604-792-8713 to report burning violations.
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