Use cau­tion with fire this week­end

The Prince George Citizen - - Local | Weather - Cit­i­zen staff

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:

• 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.

Ad­di­tional pre­cau­tions:

• 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.

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