The District would like to thank the community for your tremendous input on this topic. The deadline to submit feedback for inclusion on the October 13, 2020 regular Council meeting is now closed.
To attend this meeting remotely via Zoom, please visit www.tofino.ca/meetings for links to the meeting and instructions on how to register in advance.
Council Considers Seasonal or Year-Round Beach Fire Prohibition
At the September 28, 2020 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council discussed a motion from Mayor Osborne and Councillor McMaster to prohibit beach fires in Tofino. The motion was passed by the Committee, and will be considered once more at the October 13th regular Council meeting to formally direct staff to enact this prohibition. Council is also giving consideration to a seasonal ban.
Over the last several years, the District of Tofino has received numerous complaints, reports and letters from residents about their concerns about beach fires. Local residents have cited concerns about:
- Noxiousness and health effects of smoke, especially from driftwood
- Unsightliness and environmental impacts of abandoned fire pits, including garbage, clothing, and burnt and scarred driftwood
- Tendency for large groups to gather later in the night, often with alcohol, with resulting noise and nuisance
- Lack of District and RCMP resources to fully enforce beach fire regulations
Read the Notice of Motion from Mayor Osborne and Councillor McMaster regarding a year-round prohibition.
- Many of the concerns raised above are applicable regardless of the season. While the increase in sheer numbers of fires during the peak of summer is certainly a challenge, low venting indexes, wet wood, and decreased enforcement resources are challenges that exist in off-peak times.
- Council has not yet specified or proposed dates for the seasonal prohibition to begin/end.
- The prohibition is not proposed to extend to private lands. Homeowners and businesses (e.g., accommodations) could still undertake campfires that meet provincial regulations.
What Are the Rules for Fires in Tofino?
Camp/Beach Fires in Tofino:
Under the District of Tofino Outdoor Burning Bylaw campfires less than 24 inches in diameter are permitted on Mackenzie and Chesterman Beaches from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. as long as a fire ban is not in effect for the Coastal Fire Zone or put in place by the District of Tofino Fire Chief. Campfires are not permitted on Cox Bay or Tonquin Beaches.
Campfires less than 24" in diameter are also permitted on private land (e.g. private homes, vacation rentals, resorts) as long as a fire ban is not in effect for the Coastal Fire Zone or put in place by the District of Tofino Fire Chief.
For clarity, if either the Province and/or the District of Tofino has put a fire ban in place, campfires are not permitted anywhere on public or private land in the District of Tofino.
See the graphic below for all Tofino campfire regulations.
All other open air burning is prohibited in the District of Tofino (i.e. backyard burning, construction waste fires, yard waste fires, etc.).
For current provincial fire bans, restrictions, and regulations for the Coastal Fire Zone:
VIEW - BC Wildfire Service - Fire Bans & Restrictions
VIEW - BC Wildfire Service - Coastal Fire Centre Wildfire Information
VIEW - Campfire Regulations
When Are Fire Bans Implemented and By Whom?
The decision of when or where to implement a fire ban is made by the regional fire centres depending on local fire hazards or dangers, the type of weather conditions forecasted and the type and level of fire activity being experienced.
Depending on conditions, Tofino's local Fire Chief may place additional campfire restrictions in the interest of keeping our community safe from fire danger.
Bans can also be implemented during critical fire situations, when the BC Wildfire Service cannot afford to risk having human-caused fires divert resources from naturally-caused ones. In these situations, fires present an unacceptable risk and detract from detection and response capabilities by increasing the number of ‘false-alarm’ smoke chases, wildfire phone reports and nuisance fires.
Fines & Enforcement
For more information on fines and enforcement of camp/beach fires in Tofino please see the District of Tofino Bylaws below:
- Outdoor Burning Bylaw No. 1071, 2008
- Municipal Ticket Information System Bylaw No. 1008, 2009
- Bylaw Notice and Dispute Adjudication Bylaw No. 1107