Officials urge caution with fire use over long weekend
With campfire bans now lifted throughout the province within the Wildfire Management Branch’s jurisdiction, many British Columbians may be planning to light a fire while enjoying the outdoors on the Labour Day long weekend.
However, Wildfire Management Branch officials would like to remind the public about B.C.’s campfire safety regulations and the need to be careful with campfire use.
Although cooler and wetter conditions have lowered the Fire Danger Rating in some areas of the province, diligence is required with any open fire. Detailed information about current burning prohibitions in British Columbia is available on the Wildfire Management Branch website. Even though the Wildfire Management Branch has lifted its campfire bans, local governments and jurisdictions may still have fire prohibitions in place. Always check with local authorities before lighting a campfire or conducting any open burning.
Below are some important points about campfire use:
- To find out if any open burning prohibitions are in effect, always check the Wildfire Management Branch website: www.bcwildfire.ca
- If campfires are allowed in your area, bring a shovel or keep at least eight litres of water nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
- Do not light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
- Campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter.
- You must maintain a one-metre fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
- Never leave your campfire unattended.
- Make sure that your campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. Also ensure that cigarette butts are properly extinguished and are not tossed away carelessly.
- You may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs if your negligence results in a wildfire.
- Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson said – “It’s important to use fire carefully. Once you start a campfire, you are legally responsible for making sure it doesn’t escape and that it is completely extinguished before you leave the area.”
- Anyone found to be lighting, fuelling or using an open fire when a fire prohibition is in place, or failing to comply with an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.
- If it is found that a person caused or contributed to a wildfire and a contravention of the Wildfire Act or wildfire regulation is determined, the person responsible may be subject to an administrative penalty of up to $100,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The provincial government thanks members of the public for their help in preventing wildfires. To report a wildfire or an unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or call *5555 on your cellphone.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit the Wildfire Management Branch website: www.bcwildfire.ca