An open fire ban for the Coastal Fire Centre will take effect on Friday, although campfires will still be allowed.
The ban starts at 12 p.m. PDT on July 24. Category 2 and Category 3 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction with the exception of Haida Gwaii, where Category 3 fires will be allowed.
The ban 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.
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.
A map of the affected areas is available online here.
A Cateogry 2 open fire includes:
- the open burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high
and three metres wide;
- the open burning of material concurrently in two piles each not exceeding two metres in height and
three metre in width; or
- burning of stubble or grass fires over an area smaller than 0.2 hectares.
A Category 3 open fire includes:
- any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
- the burning of 3 or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high
by three metres wide;
- the burning of one or more windrows; and
- burning stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.
Also prohibited are the activities listed below (included in Wildfire Act, Section 12):
- Sky lanterns;
- Binary exploding targets;
- Burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description; and,
- Air curtain burners
Friday’s ban 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 at www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs
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.
The B.C. government also noted Tuesday that when implementing open fire prohibitions in the past, the Coastal Fire Centre sometimes excluded a two-kilometre strip of land along the outer coast of Vancouver Island (commonly known as the fog zone) due in part to a lack of fire-related community
bylaws in the area at the time.
It has been determined that it is no longer necessary to exclude this two-kilometre strip of land from open fire prohibitions enacted within the BC Wildfire Service’s jurisdiction, the government said.
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