FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After a spell of higher temperatures and drier conditions across the province in recent weeks, British Columbians are urged to use caution over the B.C. Day long weekend to prevent human-caused wildfires.
Campfires are currently permitted in all of the province’s six fire centres, while Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are also currently not prohibited in the Prince George Fire Centre. As of noon yesterday, the BC Wildfire Service says that it has responded to 603 wildfires, 201 of which were human-caused. The wildfire danger rating across most of the Peace Region is currently moderate to high, and is forecast to remain high for the next several days.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations is offering a number of tips to campers this long weekend, including:
- Having a shovel or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish a campfire.
- Ensuring that campfires are no larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.
- Not lighting a campfire or keeping it burning in windy conditions.
- Maintaining a one-metre fireguard around a campfire where all flammable materials have been removed.
- Never leaving a campfire unattended.
- Making sure that a campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
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.
To report a wildfire, an unattended campfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or call *5555 on a cellphone. For more information, visit www.bcwildfire.ca.