Public reminded to exercise caution while outdoor burning as spring looms

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – With current weather and predicted conditions, the BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public as well as industry workers to use caution when doing outdoor burning.

Last April, the BC Wildfire Service responded to 79 fires that burned over 14,000 hectares. With the potential of similar weather conditions for the upcoming spring season, the Prince George Fire Centre is preparing for an early fire season.

Here in the Peace Region as well as the area around Vanderhoof are currently seeing below normal snowpack. The Prince George Fire Centre says a lot of areas are also already snow-free.

“As the snow melts, it won’t take long for the grass to dry out and become flammable, especially in windy conditions.”

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The Wildfire service says that if you have had a Category 2 or Category 3 open burn in the last 12 months, should check the burn area to make sure that fire was extinguished completely.

It is recommended to take the following precautions:

  • Ensure that enough resources are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
  • Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires. (Wind was a key factor that affected wildfire activity in the spring of 2016)
  • Create an appropriately sized fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material right down to the mineral soil
  • Consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter of the main fire site before lighting the main fire. This will create a fuel break and help prevent the fire from spreading beyond its intended size
  • Never leave a fire unattended
  • Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time

Before conducting a burn, you are being reminded to call your local fire department, municipality and regional district to find out if any open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.

“If an open burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs. It is the responsibility of that individual to ensure that burning is done in a safe manner and in accordance with regulations and any current burning restrictions.”

For more information, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FLNR0034-000639.

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