As the temperature starts to heat up for the spring, the Southeast Fire Centre (which extends from the US border, up to Glacier and Yoho National Parks) is asking the public to exercise caution with any outdoor burning activities.
As the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovers, and that material can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of year are caused by people, and are therefore preventable.
There are several precautions that homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to take while burning including; ensuring that enough people and tools are on hand to control the fire, taking into account the weather conditions, especially wind, creating a fireguard at least one metre around the planned fire site, and never leaving a fire unattended.
In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using fire on or within one kilometre of forest land or grassland. If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs.
Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail.
If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
For up to date information of fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, go to www.bcwildfire.ca.