Earth Issues

Take care burning outdoors

 | May 10, 2013

burn Wildfire season is fast approaching and Sun Peaks Fire Rescue and Kamloops Fire Centre are urging residents to take care with outdoor burning.

As the snow melts highly flammable materials like dried grass and deadfall are exposed and, coupled with wind and heat, the risk of wildfire increases.

When it comes to burning outdoors, Sun Peaks Fire Rescue Captain Colin Cannon said that residents must comply with Sun Peaks’ Fire Life Safety Bylaw No. 0007. The bylaw specifies that permits may be issued by the fire chief, “for open air backyard burning of grass and weeds, garden waste, tree clippings, dead leaves and dead grass resulting from the cleaning of gardens and yards in small fires.”

Permits may be refused if environmental conditions aren’t suitable for burning.

Permits aren’t generally required for campfires or barbecues, although these fires may be prohibited by the fire chief if deemed necessary.

When lighting campfires or barbecues Cannon said it’s important to be prepared — knowing current conditions and checking the fire danger rating sign at the entrance of the resort, west of the Sun Peaks Hostel.

“Have some water around and make sure you have a shovel to (move) any sparks. We prefer a hose, put it beside your fire, and then leave it there,” Cannon explained.

“When you’re finished with the fire, (put) it out. Don’t let it burn out.”

The bylaw requires that a person 18-years-old or older must be present at the fire and in charge of it whilst it’s burning, smoldering and until completely extinguished.

Anyone planning to conduct a grass, or ordinary, burn over 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires), must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717.

In British Columbia, an average 48 per cent of all wildfires are caused by human activity. Both the Fire Life Safety Bylaw and the B.C. Wildfire Act prohibit outside burning in certain circumstances. Under the B.C. Wildfire Act individuals contravening an open fire prohibition may be fined $345, or if convicted in court, face a maximum $100,000 fine and or one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay firefighting and associated costs.

If you see flames or smoke, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or dial *5555 on your cell phone.

View the BC Firesmart Manual at: