A prohibition on open fire burning is in effect as of July 24 throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. (File photo)

Coastal Fire Centre imposes open burn prohibition

Ban to help reduce wildfire risk and protect public safety

As the weather starts to warm up, effective July 24, most open burning activities will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

Campfires will still be allowed but open burning will banned for now to help reduce wildfire risk and protect public safety.

Category 2 and Category 3 open fire will be prohibited throughout except in the Haida Gwai where Category 3 open fire will be permitted.

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.

This prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). People are asked to check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach van blaze quickly extinguish by fire crews

A map of the affected areas is available online at http://ow.ly/zfKi30oPRTu.

Specifically, this prohibition applies to:

Category 2 open fire

• Open burning of any material piled or unpiled, smaller than two metres high and three metres wide;

• Open burning of material concurrently in two piles each not exceeding two metres in height and three metres in width;

• Burning of stubble or grass fires over an area smaller than 0.2 hectares.

Category 3 open fire

• Any fire larger than twp metres high by three metres wide;

• Burning of three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than 2 metres high by three metres wide;

• the burning of one or more windrows;

• burning stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.

Also prohibited are the following activities (Wildfire Act, Section 12): Fireworks; Sky Lanterns; Binary Exploding Targets; Burn Barrels or Burn Cages of any size or description; and Air Curtain Burners.

The prohibition does not apply to campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.

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

Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area and have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $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, unattended campfire or open fire 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: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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