Outdoor fire safety
Cooking outdoors is one of the pleasures of summer (and even winter) in Vancouver, but it can pose additiional hazards for people and the environment. Whether in your backyard, at a City park, or on a camping trip, take extra caution when cooking or using fire outdoors.
You must have a permit to burn any material or substance, such as waste, paper, wood, vegetation, or any flammable substance in the ambient air or in a receptacle where emissons are vented directly into the air without passing through a chimney or stack. Cooking food on an appliance designed for that purpose (barbeque) is allowed on private property and in some parks and beach areas.
Wood burning appliances, such as chimneas and fire pits, are not allowed anywhere on private or public property in Vancouver.
Report illegal fires to 9-1-1.
Open burning permits
Typically, open burning permits are approved for special occasions, ceremonial events, filming, and so on. For more information about getting a permit for open burning in the City, contact the Fire Prevention Office. For more information about open burning permts in Vancouver parks, contact the Vancouver Park Board.
- Read the open air fires bulletin (256 KB)
Outdoor cooking tips
Use the following procedures to safely cook outdoors:
- Keep flammable liquids away from live coals to avoid explosions and burns.
- Keep children safely away from the barbecue fire.
- Before you start your barbeque, make sure the stand is level and steady.
- Keep a container of water nearby when the coal is burning.
- To start a charcoal fire, use an approved charcoal electric starter or chemicals in cake form. Never use gasoline, naptha, or other flammable materials to start a charcoal fire.
- Never add fire starter after you have started your barbecue to speed a slow fire or rekindle a dying fire; tuck dry kindling under coals.
- When you are finished cooking, soak the coals with water to prevent their re-ignition.
- Never keep damp or wet charcoals in an unventilated area; drying coals can spontaneously combust.
Camping out tips
- Obey all fire laws, ordinances, and regulations.
- Use tents made of flame-retardant fabric. Paraffin-coated cotton tents can burn up in a few minutes, possibly trapping someone inside.
- Never use candles or matches in or near a tent; use flashlights and electric lanterns. Take extra care when using electricity and lighting in or near a tent.
- Keep heaters well away from walls, pillows, camping chairs, and all contents of the tent.
- If open fires are permiited, build your fire downwind, far away from your tent. Before leaving the fire, douse it with water to make sure it is out.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it. A portable smoke alarm is also recommended.
- Never leave fuel for propane/gasoline type stoves in the trunk of the car any longer than needed to transport it. If you are driving more than a few hours with fuel in your vehicle, stop periodically to open the trunk and ventilate the compartment.
- Never freshen a fire with a liquid starter; explosions can result.
- Keep liquid fuel away from your tent and children.