Wildfire Season 2023 (March 15 to October 15)

audio imageThe risk of wildfires is highest during the dry season(March 15 to October 15)  when the earth and forests lack moisture. In 2022 there were 152 wildfires in Nova Scotia last year, damaging 3,389 hectares of Crown and privately owned lands.

Although you may not be able to eliminate the risk of wildfire you can take measures to protect your home and property:

  • In the event of a fire, call 911.
  • Have a smoke detector installed in every hallway, on every floor, including the basement. Check batteries regularly.
  • Be extremely careful when using candles. Never leave candles burning unsupervised, or around children or pets. Make sure the candle is secured in a stable candlestick and do not burn down any lower than two inches.
  • Deposits in the chimney pose a serious fire risk. Have your fireplace swept out and inspected regularly.
  • Do not pile up debris, garbage or garden supplies against an exit door. This may be an important evacuation route in an emergency.
  • Store firewood a safe distance from the house and keep covered
  • Open fires are prohibited in most municipalities. Do not burn leaves, twigs or garden debris – this material should be composted or hauled away.
  • Store pool maintenance products in a dry, well-ventilated location, outside the home and away from organic materials, gasoline, motor oil and turpentine.

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During the wildfire risk season (March 15 to October 15) all domestic brush burning and campfires must adhere to daily Nova Scotia burning restrictions. This page is updated at 2:00 pm daily.


The BurnSafe map will be updated each day at 2 p.m. to show if burning is permitted that day:

  • if a county 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
  • the map will appear grey each day between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to indicate burning is not permitted

The BurnSafe map shows provincial restrictions, which cover domestic brush burning and campfires. The restrictions do not apply to campfires in licensed private, municipal or provincial campgrounds with proper campfire facilities.

Restrictions are also available by recorded message by calling the toll-free phone line at 1-855-564-2876 (BURN).

Nova Scotians can contact their nearest Lands and Forestry office for more information on burning and burn restrictions. Wildfires can be reported by calling 1-800-565-2224 or 911.

For more information on fire safety visit the Department of Natural Resources website. https://novascotia.ca/burnsafe/

Domestic Brush Burning Frequently Asked Questions


Do I still need to purchase a burning permit?
  • For Domestic burning of piles smaller than 2m by 3m and campfires, No, but you now need to check the burn restrictions map or phone line to see when you are allowed to burn.
  • For Industrial burning – YES – you do still require to obtain a permit if you are burning piles larger than 2m by 3m and will have more than 4 piles burning at once and are clearing land for building a structure, for agriculture or for blueberry burning over 2 hectares. Go to your local Natural Resources Office to obtain a permit.

Always check your municipal bylaws before doing either type of burning.

When do I need to check the burn restrictions map/phone line?

During the wildfire-risk season, it is required that you check burn restrictions before you ignite a fire in the woods or within one thousand feet (approx. 300 metres) of the woods.

What is considered woods?

"Woods" means forest land and rock barren, brush land, dry marsh, bog or muskeg.

When is the wildfire-risk season?

The wildfire-risk season is now from March 15th-October 15th (both dates included).

My county is red on the map – what does that mean?

In counties coloured red on the burnsafe map (designated "no burn") open fires are not permitted.

My county is yellow on the map — what does that mean?

In counties coloured yellow on the burnsafe map (designated as "restricted") domestic brush burning is permitted ONLY between 7 pm and 8 am.

My county is green on the map — what does that mean?

In counties coloured green on the burnsafe map (designated "burn"), domestic brush burning is permitted between 2 pm and 8 am.

My county is gray on the map – what does that mean?

In counties coloured gray on the burn safe map (between 8 am and 2 pm) open fires are not permitted.

Can I have an open fire in the morning?

No. No matter what colour the map shows, there is NO domestic brush burning or campfires permitted in Nova Scotia between 8 am and 2 pm, except Industrial Permits.

For INDUSTRIAL PERMITS you must call the local office first prior to igniting your fire to make sure conditions are safe to do so.

Can I burn brush in the morning?

No. No matter what colour the map shows, there is NO domestic brush burning permitted in Nova Scotia between 8 am and 2 pm.

What is domestic brush burning?

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.

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 considered to be 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.

Some municipal bylaws vary from provincial rules – which do we follow?

Check and follow your municipal bylaws first. Your municipality may have a burning restriction that supersedes the provincial novascotia.ca/burnsafe map restriction. Municipal restrictions may include: the time burning is permitted, the type of burning appliance that is permitted, the location in the municipality where burning is allowed or not, etc.

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").

What are consumer fireworks?

Consumer Fireworks are the outdoor, low hazard, recreational fireworks (classification 7.2.1/F1) which are available for purchase from retail outlets.