Lightning and hot, dry weather is forecasted for the Cariboo Fire Centre in the coming days, so the BC Wildfire Service is preparing for increased wildfire activity and asking the public to report any smoke or fires that they see.
From April 1 to June 20, 2017, the Cariboo Fire Centre responded to 41 fires that have burned 208 hectares. Seven of these fires were lightning-caused. The other 34 were caused by people. In the last four days alone, crews have responded to three lightning-caused fires.
With more storms on the way this week, residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and exercise caution when spending time in the outdoors or using a campfire. Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and can divert resources away from naturally occurring fires.
The BC Wildfire Service is urging the public to report wildfires by calling 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone. Open burning violations and abandoned campfires should also be reported to these numbers.
The fire danger rating throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre is mostly “moderate” to “high”, with the exception of large pockets of “extreme” fire danger rating covering most of the Chilcotin Fire Zone.
Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are currently prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. Other prohibited activities include the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any type, and exploding binary targets (e.g., for target practice). A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5
These prohibitions do not ban campfires and do not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions they may have in place before lighting any fire.
In order to adhere to campfire regulations, the following precautions must be taken:
- Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions.
- Campfires cannot be larger a half-metre wide by a half-metre high.
- Have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to completely 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.
- Ensure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cool to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning 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.
For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, call 1 888 3-FOREST or visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
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