Summer is gradually coming to a close, but the wildfire risk in some areas of the province remains a concern.
All British Columbians are urged to exercise caution and use common sense over the Labour Day long weekend to help prevent human-caused wildfires.
From April 1, 2016, until noon yesterday, the BC Wildfire Service responded to 988 wildfires provincewide, 466 of which were caused by people. Over 99,317 hectares have been burned so far this fire season. Human-caused fires are completely preventable and unnecessarily tie up firefighting resources that could be used to deal with naturally occurring wildfires.
Detailed information about current open burning prohibitions for every region of the province is available on the BC Wildfire Service website at: http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp
Local governments may have their own burning restrictions in place, so anyone wishing to start a fire should always check with local authorities before lighting any fire of any size. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/jdO5301kS32
- Campfires cannot 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.
- Have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
- Maintain a 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.
A poster illustrating campfire safety regulations is available online at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/wildfire-status/fire-bans-and-restrictions/bcws_campfireposter.pdf
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson –
“British Columbia has experienced a relatively quiet wildfire season this year, but it only takes one mistake to spark a wildfire that could threaten B.C. communities and resources. We all need to remain vigilant, be careful with fire use and respect any open burning prohibitions that are in place.”
- Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, 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.
- Homeowners can take simple steps to reduce wildfire risks on their properties by using FireSmart principles. Information about fire prevention and the FireSmart program, including the FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual and a risk assessment checklist, is available online at: http://ow.ly/UfWN301GYJW
- The government’s Natural Resource Officers and Conservation Officers conduct regular patrols throughout British Columbia, monitoring high-risk activities and looking out for potential damage. These officers also work closely with BC Wildfire Service staff to investigate the cause of wildfires and any improper use of fire when an open burning prohibition is in effect.
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