Although open fires will be permitted throughout the Southeast Fire Centre, the Wildfire Management Branch is asking the public to remain vigilant with any fire use, including open burning and campfires. Despite the recent cool and wet weather, the region’s fire danger rating could increase again.
Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to take the following precautions with any outdoor burning activities:
Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and to prevent it from escaping.
Do not burn in windy conditions. The weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
Create a fireguard of at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
If you are planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and to help stop the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and must be extinguished before starting a new fire.
Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure your fire is extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area.
There have been 320 wildfires in the Southeast Fire Centre so far this season. Of those, 46 were caused by people.
Anyone planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn more than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires) must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1 800 797-1717.
Venting conditions always should be checked before conducting an open burn. If conditions are rated “poor” or “fair”, open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/epdpa/venting/venting.html
In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using open fire on or within one kilometre of forest land or grassland.
Anyone who lights, fuels or uses an open fire when a fire prohibition is in place or fails to comply with an open-fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, 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 subject to a penalty of up to $100,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses the area extending from the United States border in the south, to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands or Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain resource districts.
To report a wildfire, non-compliant open burning or an unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free, or dial *5555 on a cellphone.
British Columbia residents and homeowners are encouraged to read The Home Owners FireSmart Manual at: http://bcwildfire.ca/FightingWildfire/Safety/pamphlets/FireSmart-BC4.pdf
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and wildfire regulations, please visit the Wildfire Management Branch website: www.bcwildfire.ca