Ventilation Index

Get information about B.C's ventilation index and the rules on open burning.

On this page:

Understand the Ventilation Index

Before you burn, you must check the Ventilation Index which changes daily based on the:

  • Location in the province
  • Atmospheric conditions

The ventilation index is a forecast released daily by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It estimates how well the atmosphere disperses smoke on any given day. The index is similar to a weather forecast, except it provides information on how well smoke will mix into the air.

To predict ventilation, the index uses both the:

  • Mixing height of the atmosphere
    • This means, how high smoke will rise
  • Wind speed

With a higher mixing height and sufficient wind speeds, smoke should disperse and not impact neighbours.

Forecast categories

The forecast is broken down into Good, Fair and Poor ventilation. To start a burn in most populated areas of the Province, a ventilation index of Good is required.

Often in the winter, there are long periods of time where the ventilation index is Poor. During these times please be patient and check conditions daily - there will be a Good day again. More favorable ventilation is often seen in the fall and spring or ‘shoulder’ seasons of burning.

Check the Ventilation Index

Before burning, you also need to check the Open burning rules

Understand Smoke Sensitivity Zones

The province is broken into zones that are based on where the most people live. They are high, medium and low. The rules you need to follow are different depending on what zone you are in.

To find out more, visit Smoke Sensitivity Zone Maps

Ventilation Index resources

Forecast and Smoke Sensitivity Zone interactive map

Access the Ventilation Index Forecast and Smoke Sensitivity Zone Interactive Map for the current ventilation forecast and find out if you can burn today at your location. It is the combination of ventilation forecast and smoke sensitivity zone at your location that determines:

  • If you can burn
  • How long you can burn

Forecast widget

The Ventilation Index Forecast Widget allows an organization's website to share an up-to-date forecast for their chosen zone. Find out how to add this widget to your website. 


View a static map of Ventilation Index zones (PDF, 292KB) to find what zone you live in.

Archived reports

For historical reports, visit the ventilation index archive.

Open burning rules