Campfires will once again be allowed within the Coastal Fire Centre, the BC Wildfire Service said Monday.
At noon on Sept. 18, the BC Wildfire Service lifted the campfire ban that was in effect within the Coastal Fire Centre. The Coastal Fire Centre includes all of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Sea to Sky area, Sunshine Coast, central coast and Haida Gwaii.
Tiki torches, outdoor stoves, gas stoves and portable campfire equipment can also be used.
However the use of fireworks (including firecrackers), sky lanterns, binary exploding targets and burn barrels or burn cages are prohibited. Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are also banned at this time, except for the two-kilometre strip along the coast of Vancouver Island known as the “Fog Zone.”
A Category 2 open fire is an open fire, excluding a campfire, that burns piled material no larger than two metres high and three metres wide, or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size. A Category 3 open fire is a fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide, windrows, or grass over an larger than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150. They may also be 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 responsible party may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
Local governments may have their own burning bylaws and campfire restrictions in place. The BC Wildfire Service is also reminding people that some parts of southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands have received little rainfall.
The BC Wildfire Service said people who are lighting a campfire should remember to:
- Select the campfire site carefully and remove all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from the area.
- Create a fire break by scraping away debris right down to the dirt all around the fire.
- Use a fire pit or put a ring of rocks around the campfire site that is at least three metres away from trees, shrubs, structures and other flammable materials.
- Campfires must not be bigger than a half-metre wide and a half-metre high.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Keep at least eight litres of water or a shovel close by at all times to extinguish the campfire properly.
- Make sure that the campfire is completely extinguished before going to sleep. Ensure that the fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.