Burning Questions and Answers about Provincial Burn Restrictions


On Thursday, Aug. 22, Pictou County is under restricted b burn conditions that allows burning from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. This is updated everyday at 2 p.m. until Oct. 15. Please check daily.

PICTOU, NS – It’s a beautiful summer or fall evening, perfect for a bonfire.

The wood is gathered. The marshmallows are ready. But what about the burn index?

Every day at 2 p.m. from March 15 to October 15, the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry updates its burn restrictions website at http://novascotia.ca/burnsafe . Restrictions are also available by recorded message updated daily by calling the toll-free phone line at 1-855-564-2876 (BURN).

The Burnsafe map shows restrictions for domestic brush burning and campfires. Restrictions are updated daily at 2 p.m. to show if burning is permitted that day:
- if an area is shown in green, burning is permitted from 2 p.m. through 8 a.m.
- if it is shown in yellow, burning is permitted between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- if it is shown in red, burning is not allowed. 
- no burning is permitted anywhere from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on any day
- if the map is grey, no burning is permitted from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Daily Burn Restrictions are determined each day by staff at the Provincial Fire Center. It monitors the weather all year and bases its decisions on current and forcasted weather as well as fires that are currently burning. The Burnsafe map applies only to domestic burning. Industrial burning requires a permit from Department of Lands and Forestry. The Municipality of Pictou County has no burning bylaws and follows provincial guidelines.

Burn permits are no longer issued for domestic burns. Domestic brush burning is burning (for no remuneration) woody debris in 2 piles or fewer which are no wider than 3 m and no taller than 2 m. Domestic brush burning includes campfires (except in licensed private, municipal, and provincial campgrounds) and blueberry burning which is less/equal to 2 ha. However, before burning, the burn restrictions map or phoneline must checked to determine if burning is permitted.

Burn permits are required for industrial burning which is piles larger than 2x3 metres and will have more than four piles burning at once and are clearing land for building a structure, for agriculture or for blueberry burning over 2 hectares. Permits can be obtained at the local Department of Lands and Forestry.

What constitutes as a campfire? Any open fire that burns no larger than 0.5 m in diameter and is intended for recreation and not for survival is considered a campfire.

What about burning in chimineas, fire pits, and other backyard burning appliances? If the fire is not in an enclosed CSA approved appliance, the fire is an open fire. A chiminea is an open fire.

When the burnsafe map is red ("no burn") what appliances am I allowed to use? When the burnsafe map is red (designated "no burn") Propane or charcoal fueled appliances such as bbqs, propane or natural gas fire bowls and Coleman style camp stoves can be used.

When the burnsafe map is red (designated "no burn") can I use charcoal in a fire pit? No, charcoal can only be used in an appliance designed for charcoal.

When the map is red (designated "no burn"), am I allowed to set off consumer fireworks? Fireworks restrictions are set by the Office of the Fire Marshall. The Office of the Fire Marshall is placing a ban on consumer fireworks when the burnsafe map is red ("no burn"). Consumer Fireworks are the outdoor, low hazard, recreational fireworks (classification 7.2.1/F1) which are available for purchase from retail outlets.

To report an illegal burn, call 1 800-565-2224. When necessary, a Conservation Officer would be notified. The fine for contravening s. 23(3) of the Forests Act or the Forest Fire Protection Regulations is currently $237.50.

- Information provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry