Government of New Brunswick

In the past, open burning of wood or wood products was a common practice, in part because there weren't many options for disposing of waste materials. We now know that open burning can harm the environment by releasing fine particulate matter and other airborne contaminants to the air. The emissions produced by open burning can also have an effect on human health, particularly for those with respiratory conditions.

Today, we have more environmentally appropriate alternatives for disposing of waste materials, and so it is best to avoid open burning whenever possible.

Alternatives to Burning

Burning of wood or wood products should always be considered as a last resort, to be used when other options are not suitable. Here are some alternatives:

  • Chipping and composting to dispose of woody materials will turn the "waste" product into fertilizer, mulch and other useful items.
  • Certain municipalities have designated days when they will collect yard waste. Consider saving your yard waste for these days.
  • Some materials can be reused.


What Can I Burn Without Obtaining a Permit?

Wood or Wood Products
- You may burn wood or wood products in a pile smaller than three meters in diameter by two meters high, and you may only burn one pile of that size per property at any given time. The burn must take place a minimum of 150 meters away from any neighbouring homes.

Recreational Fires - You may have an open fire for the purposes of obtaining warmth or cooking food (i.e. campfires) providing you don’t burn any of the items listed under Prohibited Materials (see next page).

When Must I Get Permission to Burn

Larger Fires
- If you are planning to burn more than one pile of wood or wood products; if the piles being burned are larger than three meters in diameter by two meters high; if you are planning to burn closer than 150 meters to neighbouring homes; or you are burning an area such as a field, you must obtain a permit from the Department of Environment.

Forest Fire Season - During fire season (generally April to November) residents of villages and unincorporated areas must get permission to burn an open fire from the Department of Natural Resources.

Local Restrictions - Check with your local municipality to determine whether any by-law or other restrictions may apply to your burn.

Things to Keep in Mind When Burning

  • Burn dry materials only
  • Do not burn when weather conditions will prevent
    dispersion of the smoke
  • Avoid burning such that the smoke hampers visibility on roadways
  • Stay with the fire at all times
  • Let your neighbours know you plan to burn

What Cannot Be Burned With or Without A Permit

Prohibited Materials:
Many materials must not be burned because of the threat they pose to human and environmental health.

You are prohibited from burning the following materials:

  • Animal cadavers/manure
  • Biomedical waste as defined in the "Guidelines for the Management of Biomedical Waste in Canada", (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, 1992)
  • Carpets
  • Domestic garbage
  • Electrical wire
  • Hazardous materials as defined in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations - Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (Canada)
  • Petroleum products
  • Plastics
  • Pressure treated lumber or railway ties
  • Refuse or other wastes from commercial, industrial or municipal operations
  • Resins and glues
  • Rubber
  • Roofing Shingles
  • Styrofoam
  • Tarpaper
  • Tires
  • Treated/painted wood
  • Used oil

For more information, please contact the Regional Program Delivery Section (506) 444-3635.

This policy is effective November 1, 2002.