Campfire ban remains in effect

As long weekend approaches, the Southeast Fire Centre reminds the public that campfires are prohibited.

With the long weekend coming up, there are more than a few people planning to load up the trailers to head out for some camping.

However, the Southeast Fire Centre is reminding everyone that a campfire ban remains in place over the region as conditions remain hot and dry.

The campfire ban, which was implemented on July 3rd, is part of additional restrictions banning Category 2 and Category  3 open fires.

Specific prohibited activities include:

• Campfires (fires smaller than a half-metre by a half-metre high)

• 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 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. Check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting a fire.

The 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 gases fuel, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

So far this year, there have been just over 1,300 fires across the province. Of those, 415 have been human caused, while 900 have been lightning-caused. In the Southeast Fire Centre jurisdiction, crews have responded to 386 fires this season—63 of which have been human-caused.

In fact, one campfire in the Southeast Fire Centre was responsible for a wildfire, according to Fanny Bernard, a fire information officer.

“That’s just one that escaped and lead to an actual forest fire,” she said. “Not only is a human-caused fire preventable, but this one was in direct violation of the campfire prohibition.

“…So no campfires are allowed at all in the Southeast Fire Centre anywhere.”

Bernard says that even when the region gets some rain, such as this past weekend, it’s not enough to affect the long-term fire danger rating.

“So any kinds of gains or improvements on the fire danger rating is temporary and localized, so the indices are expected to bounce back with this hot and dry weather we’re expecting,” she said.

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.

For more information on the fire bans and real-time updates, visit the BC Wildfire website or visit their Facebook page.

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