A province-wide campfire ban has been issued by the BC government, expanding an order from last week that prohibited campfires in the Southeast Fire Centre.
The ban, effective immeditately, also completements a municipal campfire ban announced by the City of Cranbrook and the City of Kimberley last week as well.
The municipal bans includes all open fires of any kind, including campfires, cooking fires and outdoor burning and is effective until further notice from provincial and local governments.
The region is currently experiencing dry conditions and fire danger ratings are generally high or extreme throughout the region. With forest fuels drying out and lightning storms in the weather forecast, it is crucial to decrease the risk of human-caused wildfires so firefighters can concentrate on naturally occurring wildfires in the region.
Prohibitions on larger Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are already in effect throughout the Southeast Fire Centre.
To learn about the differences between campfires, Category 2 open fires and Category 3 open fires, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans or review the open fire regulations poster at: www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs
Specifically, prohibited activities once the campfire ban takes effect will include:
• 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 use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for target practice)
• the use of air curtain burners (forced air burning systems)
These 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 gaseous fuel – so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.
These 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. Always check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.
The Southeast Fire Centre covers the area extending from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. It includes the Selkirk Natural Resource District and the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, 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.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.