Over a thousand BC Wildfire Service personnel and contractors are putting their lives on the line to protect British Columbians from fire threats this summer, so we owe it to them to not make their work any more difficult, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson said today.
“Fire prevention legislation and regulations are in place to help protect the lives and property of every British Columbian,” Thomson said. “On this B.C. Day long weekend, have a great holiday, be smart and do your part to prevent fire-related tragedies.”
Human-caused wildfires are entirely preventable and divert valuable resources from the battle against naturally occurring fires, including those sparked by lightning. On average, about 40% of wildfires in B.C. every year are caused by human activity or by people who disregard fire regulations intended to keep their communities safe from harm.
Hot and dry conditions have persisted in many areas of the province over the past two months and they’re expected to continue over the long weekend and well into August – and possibly September as well.
Given the tough firefighting challenges that British Columbia faces, there’s no room for irresponsible fire use on the B.C. Day long weekend or at any other time. It’s crucial for everyone to remain vigilant and do what they can to prevent wildfires.
Anyone planning to go camping or spend time in the backcountry must comply with provincial regulations and adhere to any campfire ban or open burning prohibitions in effect in their area. Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are currently prohibited throughout the province within the BC Wildfire Service’s jurisdiction.
Detailed information about current burning restrictions and campfire bans is available on the BC Wildfire Service website at: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp
British Columbians and visitors to the province are urged to check this website regularly to see what restrictions are currently in effect in their area. Local governments may also have their own burning restrictions in place, so always check with local authorities before lighting any fire of any size.
Here’s some important information about campfire use, if campfires are allowed in your area:
- Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
- Campfires may not be larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.
- Do not light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
- You must maintain a one-metre fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Make sure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. You may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs if your negligence results in a wildfire.
Anyone operating motorized vehicles in the backcountry must also use caution, since the heat from an exhaust pipe – particularly in tall, dry grass – could ignite a wildfire. More information about fire prevention and the FireSmart program can be found online at: http://bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm
The provincial government thanks the public for its help in preventing wildfires. To report a wildfire, an unattended campfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or call *5555 on a cellphone.
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.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit the BC Wildfire Service website at: www.bcwildfire.ca
You can also follow the latest wildfire news:
- On Twitter at: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
- On Facebook at: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo