Use caution with fire this weekend
Even though most of the province has been doused with rain recently, wildfire season is still here.
When spending time outdoors during the Labour Day long weekend people are being asked to be cautious while doing anything that could spark a wildfire.
Human caused fires are preventable and can take valuable resources away from naturally occurring fires already burning.
“I hope that all British Columbians can enjoy the Labour Day long weekend with friends and family,” Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said. “While this fire season hasn’t been as active as the past two summers, we still need everyone to remain vigilant and act responsibly.”
People are urged to take the following precautions to help prevent wildfires:
• Campfires are currently allowed in all areas of the province that fall under the BC Wildfire Service’s jurisdiction. People should check with local governments and other authorities (e.g., BC Parks) to see if they have any burning restrictions or bylaws in effect.
• Campfires must not be larger than 0.5 metres high or 0.5 metres wide.
• Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
• Maintain a fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, leaves, kindling, etc.) have been removed right down to the soil.
• Never leave a campfire unattended.
• Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available to properly extinguish a campfire.
• Make sure ashes are cool to the touch before retiring for the night or leaving the area for any length of time.
• Anyone riding an all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike on Crown land must have a spark arrestor installed on the vehicle. Check the condition of the muffler, regularly clear buildups of grass or other vegetation from hot spots, stay on dirt paths and avoid tall grass and weeds to help reduce wildfire risks.
• Smokers must dispose of cigarette butts and other smoking materials responsibly, ensuring that those materials are completely extinguished and disposed of properly.
The government’s conservation officers conduct regular patrols throughout British Columbia.
Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or, if convicted in court, may be 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.
This year April 1 through Aug. 28, the BC Wildfire Service responded to 696 wildfires throughout the province, with 57 per cent of those fires caused by people.
More than 21,141 hectares have been burned in B.C. since April 1.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open-burning violation, 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.