The Northwest Fire Centre is encouraging the public to use caution when performing any outdoor burning, due to gusty winds and a continued drying trend in the forecast, especially in the Bulkley and Nadina fire zones.
The Bulkley and Nadina zones encompass the communities of Hazelton, Smithers, Kitwanga, Houston and Burns Lake.
Unattended or unextinguished campfires are of particular concern, with numerous unattended campfires discovered in the Northwest so far this year.
Members of the public and industry personnel are encouraged to visit the Wildfire Management Branch website − www.bcwildfire.ca/Prevention − and take the following precautions:
- Never leave a fire unattended and make sure the fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cool to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
- Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent its escape.
- Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
- Clear twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material from around the planned fire site to create a one metre fireguard.
- If planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and help stop the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Keep these fires small and completely extinguish each fire before starting a new one.
Before conducting a burn, check with the local fire department, municipality and regional district to check if there are any open burning restrictions or bylaws in effect.
If planning any large-scale industrial burning or conducting a grass burn larger than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires), a burn registration number must be obtained ahead of time by calling 1 888 797-1717.
Always check the venting conditions before conducting an open burn. If venting conditions are rated “poor” or “fair”, open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/ventilation-index.html
Up-to-date information on open fire bans can be obtained by calling 1 888 3-FOREST or online at: www.bcwildfire.ca
In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using fire in or within one kilometre of forest land or grassland. If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs.
Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The Northwest Fire Centre thanks the public for its continued help in preventing wildfires. To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or dial *5555 on a cellphone.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit the Wildfire Management Branch website: www.bcwildfire.ca
The latest wildfire news can be found:
- On Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
- On Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo
Fire Information Officer
Wildfire Management Branch
Northwest Fire Centre