No Fire is a Healthy Fire - Lions Bay's air quality is some of the best in the Lower Mainland. Let’s help keep it that way!
It’s that time of year when many of us fire up our wood stoves and fireplaces for winter heat. Residential wood smoke is one of the most significant sources of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Metro Vancouver and particulate matter has impacts on human health.
For additional information on the health impacts of wood burning, click here.
If you do choose to have a fire, consider the information below to help reduce smoke and its health impacts. Burning smarter will help you have a more enjoyable experience, make cleanup easier and help reduce smoke and pollutants for both you and your neighbors.
Both short- and long-term exposures to particle pollution from wood smoke has been linked to serious health problems, especially in children, older adults, and those with heart or respiratory problems.
- Wood should be split, stacked and covered for six months or more before burning. Use wood that has a moisture content of 20% or less. Firewood moisture meters are available at hardware and fireplace specialty stores.
- Burn hot fires as this facilitates a more complete combustion that decreases the amount of pollution generated. A poorly constructed fire or a fire left to smolder can produce large amounts of unhealthy smoke. Extinguish the fire completely when you are done, don't let it smolder.
- Start fires with clean newspaper and dry kindling.
- Don’t burn wet wood: it creates a lot of smoke and burns inefficiently.
- Never burn garbage, plastic, or pressure treated wood, which can produce harmful chemicals when burned.
- Regularly remove ashes from your wood-burning appliance to maintain proper airflow.
- Clean your chimney annually; soot build up causes more smoke and can cause a house fire.
- Consider upgrading to a modern efficient EPA-approved wood-burning appliance. Today’s wood-burning appliances burn cleaner and produce less smoke inside and outside your home and they burn less wood saving you time and money.
For further tips on burning smarter, click here
Some of you may be wondering what happened with the proposed Metro Vancouver Wood Smoke Restrictions. Council lobbied to be excluded but ultimately agreed to comply after negotiating an additional 7-year grace period before implementation of the prohibition stage.
The new bylaw was adopted by the Metro Vancouver Board on March 27th, 2020. All residents of Lions Bay must comply with the bylaw on the following timeline:
- Effective immediately: every person who discharges, or causes, permits or allows the discharge of an air contaminant into the environment from a residential indoor wood burning appliance must comply with best burning practices.
- Effective May 15, 2021: seasonal ban begins – no residential wood burning will be allowed between May 15th and September 15th each year, unless it is a home’s sole source of heat.
- Effective September 15, 2022: all residential wood burning appliances must be registered and residents using wood burning for heat must complete a declaration of best burning practices.
- Effective September 15, 2025: enforcement of prohibition on residential wood burning within most other areas of Metro Vancouver, other than with registered or exempt appliances.
- Effective September 15, 2032: enforcement of prohibition on residential wood burning within the Village of Lions Bay, other than with registered or exempt appliances.
Wood burning appliances that may continue to be used from September 16th to May 14th after 2032:
- Appliances that meet the emissions standards prescribed in Schedule A of the bylaw
- Appliances that do not meet the emissions standards prescribed in Schedule A, but the appliance is the sole source of heat in the home.
- Appliances that do not meet the emissions standards prescribed in Schedule A, but the owner meets the low income exemption.
- Appliances within a residence operated exclusively with manufactured fire logs and that produce no visible emissions.
It should be noted that most, if not all, open fireplaces will not comply with the required emission standards but can be registered and used with manufactured firelogs exclusively. An unregistered open fireplace may be used if there is a power outage. There have been many questions about how one proves eligibility or emissions of less than 4.5 grams per hour for appliances that do not have a current certification. This is still not clear, but it is expected that detailed information will become available when the registration period begins.
What must one do to be in compliance with the best burning practices declaration?
Schedule B of the bylaw outlines best burning practices, similar to those available on this page, except that it includes the requirement that no visible emissions are produced by a fire other than during startup.