Vancouver Island’s fog zone will no longer be exempt from open fire prohibitions, the BC Wildfire Service announced Monday.
The fog zone, a two-kilometre strip of land along the the outer coast of Vancouver Island from Port Renfrew to Port Hardy, was sometimes excluded from open fire prohibitions in the past based on a lower risk of wildfire spreading (due to the frequent presence of fog) and a lack of community bylaws and campfire procedures in provincial and federal parks within that area. Therefore, people in the area were sometimes allowed to have campfires or Category 2 open burns while other areas of Vancouver Island were under a burning ban.
The BC Wildfire Service said the reasons why the fog zone exemption was established were no longer relevant, as the communities of Bamfield, Ucluelet and Tofino now all have open burning bylaws and Pacific Rim National Park has an effective permit system in place governing campfires. This conclusion came after a review of the effectiveness of the fog zone in collaboration with First Nations, national and provincial park staff, and local governments in the area, following the 2018 wildfire season.
“The Coastal Fire Centre will continue work with its partners, including BC Parks, to ensure a smooth transition,” the BC Wildfire Service said in a statement.
The Coastal Fire Centre covers all 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.