Given the current and predicted weather conditions in northern regions of the province, the BC Wildfire Service is encouraging members of the public and industry personnel to exercise caution when doing any outdoor burning.
The weather forecast is calling for increased winds from April 18-20, 2019, in the Peace Region, which will experience low relative humidity and little precipitation. It will not take long for grass to dry out and become flammable, especially in windy conditions.
There are currently no open burning prohibitions in effect within the Prince George Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. However, people wishing to light an open fire must watch out for changing weather conditions and follow all open burning regulations to help reduce the number of preventable wildfires.
They should also take the following precautions:
- Ensure that enough resources are on hand to control the fire and stop it 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 an appropriately sized fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material, right down to the mineral soil.
- Consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter of the main fire site before lighting the main fire. This will create a fuel break and help prevent the fire spreading beyond its intended size.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure that any fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Anyone planning to do 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 (at no charge) by calling 1 888 797-1717. Burn registration numbers are entered in the Open Fire Tracking System, which allows the BC Wildfire Service to track open burning activity throughout B.C.
Anyone conducting an open burn must check local venting conditions before lighting any fire. If the venting conditions in the area are rated “poor” or “fair,” Category 2 and Category 3 open burning is restricted. The venting index can be obtained by calling 1 888 281-2992, and is also available online at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/epdpa/venting/venting.html
Anyone conducting an open burn must comply with the Wildfire Act and air quality control legislation. If an open burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs. It is the responsibility of that individual to ensure that burning is done safely and in accordance with regulations and any current burning restrictions. Check with local government authorities to see if any local burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.
The Prince George Fire Centre extends from the Yukon and Northwest Territories in the north to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, the Cottonwood River and Robson Valley in the south, and from the Alberta border in the east to the Skeena Mountains in the west.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, please call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. 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
Follow the latest wildfire news:
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5
For more information about safe open burning practices, visit the BC Wildfire Service website: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/fire-bans-and-restrictions
The Prince George Fire Centre would like to remind the public that it is the responsibility of landowners to make their homes and properties FireSmart. A good first step is to complete a site hazard assessment, which is a powerful tool for identifying wildfire hazards on private property. This can be done online at: www.firesmartbc.ca
People can also use the FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual, available on the BC Wildfire Service website at: www.bcwildfire.ca