It's been reported that the fire was started by a camper's open fire. (Photo submitted)

Parson fire reminder of wildfire season ahead

While the fire was quickly extinguished, it’s a reminder that open fires are currently prohibited

Parson resident Gordon Conover is warning of wildfire season, after BC Fire Service had to respond to a fire on his property that threatened the forest next to it on June 8.

He says that a camper’s open fire started the flame, which was quickly extinguished by the Fire Service based out of Invermere.

A neighbour driving on the highway spotted the smoke, investigated, and contacted BC Fire.

Open fire prohibitions are already in effect in areas across the province, as B.C. ramps up for what is expected to by a hot and dry summer, spurring worries of a bad wildfire season.

The Columbia Valley is in the Southeast fire center, which currently has a restriction on open fires, which bans open burning in the area. The restriction came into effect on June 11.

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Campfires are currently still permitted and are defined as an open fire burning materials no larger than 0.5 meters in height and 0.5 meters in width and is for recreational or ceremonial purposes.

Anything larger than this, or burning materials in more than one pile, is considered an open fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $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 full definitions and regulations are available on the BC Wildfire service website. The service encourages those looking to light a fire of any size to check with local authorities to be sure.

Fire bans and restrictions are implemented as local fire hazards or dangers, weather conditions and fire activity demand, to help to protect the population of, and property and values in, British Columbia. Fire bans and restrictions apply to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise – for example, in a local government bylaw.

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