Vancouver Island moves to total burn ban

Campfires to be prohibited effective July 6

Effective at noon on Thursday, July 6, all open fires — including campfires — will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the area known as the “Fog Zone.”

The Fog Zone is a two-kilometre strip of land along the outer coast of Vancouver Island, stretching from Owen Point (near Port Renfrew) north to the tip of Vancouver Island and around to the boundary of the District of Port Hardy. This strip extends inland two kilometres from the high tide point. A map of the Fog Zone is available online at http://ow.ly/bCJc30caIul.

The Coastal Fire Centre is implementing this prohibition due to increasing temperatures and no precipitation in the weather forecast. This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 21 or until the public is otherwise notified.

This prohibition covers all B.C. Parks, Crown lands and private lands within the Coastal Fire Centre (with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the Fog Zone). It does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has wildfire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

The following activities are prohibited within the specified area:

• Campfires;

• Category 2 open fires;

• Category 3 open fires;

• fires burning woody debris in outdoor stoves;

• the use of tiki torches, fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description; and

• the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice).

A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs.

This prohibition does not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation 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.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers all of the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: www.bcwildfire.ca.

— Coastal Fire Centre release