The BC Wildfire Service, in collaboration with its partners in the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, has decided to discontinue exempting the “fog zone” when it implements open fire prohibitions on Vancouver Island.
When enacting open fire prohibitions in the past, the Coastal Fire Centre sometimes excluded a two-kilometre strip of land along the extreme outer coast of Vancouver Island from Port Renfrew to Port Hardy, commonly known as the fog zone. People within this area were sometimes allowed to have campfires or Category 2 open burns when those types of fires were prohibited elsewhere on Vancouver Island.
Past decisions to exclude the fog zone were based on the lower risk of a wildfire spreading (due to the frequent presence of fog) and a general lack of community bylaws and campfire procedures in provincial and federal parks within that area. The Wildfire Act and the Wildfire Regulation govern open burning and prohibit activities on Crown land not covered by local government bylaws, including provincial parks, while national parks have their own regulations.
Following the 2018 fire season, the BC Wildfire Service reviewed the effectiveness of the fog zone in collaboration with First Nations, national and provincial park staff, and local governments in the area. The review concluded that many reasons why the fog zone exemption was initially established were no longer relevant. For example, the communities of Bamfield, Ucluelet and Tofino now all have open burning bylaws and Pacific Rim National Park has an effective permit system in place governing campfires.
The Coastal Fire Centre will continue work with its partners, including BC Parks, to ensure a smooth transition.
The Coastal Fire Centre covers all the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the North, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
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The Wildfire Act and Wildfire Regulation can be viewed on the BC Wildfire Service website at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/about-bcws/governance/legislation-regulations