Parts of southeast British Columbia have received varying amounts of rainfall over the past week, but the campfire ban that’s been in place since July 3 throughout the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.
This measure is in addition to Category 2 and Category 3 open burning prohibitions that are still in effect.
Although some areas have received a considerable amount of rain, it has only temporarily lowered fire danger ratings. The weather forecast for the Southeast Fire Centre indicates a return to hot and dry conditions and these ratings are expected to rise again quickly.
Specifically, prohibited activities include:
- Campfires (fires smaller than a half-metre wide by a half-metre high).
- The burning of waste or other materials.
- Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.
- The use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description.
- The use of binary exploding targets.
- The use of air curtain burners (forced air burning systems).
These prohibitions do not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.
These prohibitions cover all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Please check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.
Anyone found in contravention of a fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The BC Wildfire Service urges the public to abide by these prohibitions to help reduce the number of human-caused wildfires, which can divert critical resources from naturally occurring wildfires. The Southeast Fire Centre has responded to a total of 386 fires since April 1, 63 of which were human-caused and therefore preventable. The total number of wildfires by this date last year was 117.
The Southeast Fire Centre covers the area extending from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. It includes the Selkirk Forest District and the Rocky Mountain Forest District.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca
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