The Southeast Fire Centre is asking members of the public to exercise caution while conducting any outdoor burning activities this spring.
As the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovered and that material can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of year are caused by people and are therefore preventable.
Anyone wishing to light an open fire must watch for changing weather, follow all burning regulations and take the following precautions:
- Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
- 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.
- Create a fireguard at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
- Anyone planning to conduct a large burn should consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter of the main fire site beforehand to create a fuel break and help prevent the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and must be completely extinguished before starting a new fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure that the fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Before conducting a burn, check with the local fire department, municipality and regional district to find out if any open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.
Anyone planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn larger than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires) must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling
1 888 797-1717. Burn registration numbers are available free of charge.
If a fire escapes, the person who lit it may be held liable for fire suppression costs and damages. It is the responsibility of the individual lighting the fire to ensure that burning is done safely and in accordance with regulations.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire 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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