Campfire ban issued

An indefinite campfire ban effective Friday, July 2nd, has been issued by the Southeast Fire Centre.

Fire crews recently battled a small wildfire out by Eager Hills. An indefinite campfire ban has been issued by the Southeast Fire Centre.

Fire crews recently battled a small wildfire out by Eager Hills. An indefinite campfire ban has been issued by the Southeast Fire Centre.

A campfire ban will be imposed effective Friday, July 3rd, as the Southeast Fire Centre moves to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.

The campfire prohibition will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified. This measure is in addition to Category 2 and Category 3 open burning prohibitions that are already in effect.

Wildfire conditions are ripe around the region, according to Jordan Turner, a fire information officer for the Southeast Fire Centre.

“As far as fire danger goes, the entire area around Kimberley/Cranbrook is in a high fire danger rating,” Turner said. “That can obviously increase quite a bit throughout today if it stays quite dry and hot, which it’s supposed to be.

“This is why we have the campfire ban coming into play. We’re seeing temperatures that have been higher than what we usually see until the core part of summer—late July to early August.

“With that in mind, we’re trying to prevent any human-caused fires.”

Currently, there are no active wildfires in the Cranbrook and Kimberley area, however, that could change depending on what comes out of all the lightning strikes from the recent thunderstorm on Monday night.

“With lightning like that, if any of those strikes were in areas where it didn’t get a lot of rainfall, those can become holdover fires,” said Turner, “and, as heat increases over the next day or two, can become wildfires, so we’re counting on the public to call in any wildfires they see and just to keep an eye out to respond as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

• campfires, as defined in the wildfire regulation

• the burning of waste or other materials

• stubble or grass fires of any size over any area

• the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description

• the use of binary exploding targets

• the use of air curtain burners (forced air burning systems)

These prohibitions do not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.

These prohibitions cover all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Please check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.

Anyone found in contravention of a fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, 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.

The Southeast Fire Centre covers the area extending from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. It includes the Selkirk Forest District and the Rocky Mountain Forest District.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.