Fine for illegal burning increasing to $25,000 during wildfire season

Three HRM Firefighters work at the wildfires in Tantallon. (Communication Nova Scotia photo)

HALIFAX: Beginning May 16, Nova Scotia has increased the fine for violating daily burn restrictions to $25,000.

Premier Tim Houston made the announcement in a release issued on May 16.

He said almost all wildfires in Nova Scotia are human caused.

“With the weather starting to get warmer and dryer, I cannot stress enough the importance of prevention,” said Houston. “That’s why we are doubling down on the fine for people who violate the daily burn restrictions.

“Increasing it to $25,000 for the entire wildfire season should make people pause, and check and follow the BurnSafe map. Let’s not have another season like last year’s.”


From March 15 to October 15, daily burn restrictions are in place to help prevent wildfires.

Burning is not permitted anywhere in the province between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. because that is often when the risk of wildfires is greatest.

The BurnSafe map remains red during those hours every day.

Each day at 2 p.m., the map is updated to show the daily restrictions:
– red means burning is not permitted that day
– yellow means burning is permitted after 7 p.m.
– green means burning is permitted after 2 p.m.

People can check daily burn restrictions via the online BurnSafe map at  or by calling 1-855-564-2876 (BURN).

They also need to check municipal bylaws; they take precedence when they are stricter than the provincial restrictions.


Out of an abundance of caution, the daily burn restrictions now also apply to campgrounds.

Open fires like campfires are only permitted after 2 p.m. when the BurnSafe map is green or after 7 p.m. when the map is yellow – just like campfires in people’s backyards.

Devices such as gas stoves and charcoal briquette barbeques can still be used any time, following manufacturers’ instructions.

The fine amounts are set in the Summary Offence Ticket Regulations.


Conservation officers, police and other law enforcement officers can issue the fine on the spot in the form of a summary offence ticket.

A victim surcharge and HST also apply to the fine, bringing the total to $28,872.50.

Quick Facts: 
– the illegal burning fine increased to $25,000 last spring with the provincewide burn ban during the large wildfires; this year, the $25,000 fine applies to violations of the daily burn restrictions
– the basic fine for violating the restrictions is $237.50; the larger fine is in place through a proclamation until the end of wildfire season
– the Province may consider reinstating the original fine amount if conditions significantly reduce the risk of wildfires
– industrial burning, such as clearing agricultural land or burning brush piles of certain sizes requires a permit from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables