With hot temperatures now baking B.C.’s Southern Interior, nearly every type of fire will be temporarily banned in the Southeast Fire Centre starting Friday.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Forests said the ban will affect category 2 and 3 fires throughout the Southeast region, which stretches from the Boundary Fire Zone to the Alberta border.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says the ban will begin at noon, July 24, adding the prohibition will help prevent human-caused wildfires.
Notably, the ministry said the prohibition does not apply to campfires that are a half-metre high by a high-metre wide or smaller, and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
For the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Shuswap and Okanagan, category 2 fires are allowed, but category 3 fires are prohibited.
A spokesperson for the Kamloops Fire Centre said the bans are being reviewed regularly.
Below are the bans for the Southeast Fire Centre, according to the Ministry of Forests:
Category 2 open-burn prohibitions include the following activities and equipment:
- Burning of any waste, slash or other materials;
- Open fires larger than 0.5 metres wide by 0.5 metres high;
- Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area;
- Sky lanterns;
- Fireworks, including firecrackers;
- Binary exploding targets;
- Burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description except when used for a campfire as defined by the wildfire regulation; and
- The use of air curtain burners.
Category 3 open burn prohibited activities include:
- Any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
- Three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
- Burning of one or more windrows; and
- Burning of stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.
The ministry said anyone who is conducting a category 2 or 3 fire must have it extinguished by the deadline, and that the prohibition applies to all public and private lands, unless specified otherwise.
The ministry says 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 up to $100,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to up to one year in jail.
It also said if the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs, as well as the value of the resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open-burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.