BC Wildfire Service officially banned Category 2 open burning as of Monday, July 29 at noon.
This open burning prohibition includes open fires larger than 0.5 metres wide by 0.5 metres high, stubble of grass fires of any size over any area, the use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size of description, the use of curtain air burners, the use of sky lanterns, the use of fireworks, and the use of binary exploding targets (for target practice)
These prohibitions do not apply to campfires that are smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. Campfires should not be lit or kept burning during windy conditions. Anyone who lights a campfire must ensure that sufficient water, tools and people are on hand to contain it. Make sure that the fire is fully extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
These prohibitions apply to all public and private land unless specified otherwise (for example, in a local government bylaw). Check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a 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 Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning 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, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
In the Southeast Fire Centre, there are three active fires, two of which were human-caused, and one that started due to lightening. The two human-caused fires are located north of Elkford along the Alberta border, and just east of Cranbrook. The lightening-caused fire is estimated 5.3 hectares in size, and is located along the southeast shore of Kootenay Lake.
Category 2 open burning will be prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, including the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District and the Selkirk Natural Resource District.
The BC Wildfire Service is implementing this prohibition to help prevent wildfires sparked by Category 2 open burns and to protect public safety. It will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.
Anyone conducting a Category 2 open burn anywhere within the Southeast Fire Centre must extinguish any such fire by the deadline. This prohibition is in addition to the Category 3 open burning prohibition that was put in place throughout the Southeast Fire Centre on June 12.
Last year, the Category 2 fire ban was in place two weeks prior to July 29. At this time last year, there were more than 29 wildfires larger than 0.01 hectares in the Southeast Fire Centre.
The complete campfire ban was implemented in the Kamloops Fire Centre and the Southeast Fire Centre on July 26.
There are currently 34 fires burning across the province, with five started in the last two days.