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Wednesday, November 7, 2018
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Government introduces stiffer rules and fines to reduce wildfire risk

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VICTORIA, B.C. — Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson announced today that new rules and penalties for off-road vehicle users to reduce the wildfire risk around the province will go into effect immediately.

Donaldson announced today that the government has increased some wildfire-related penalties up to $100,000 to help prevent fires and discourage irresponsible off-road vehicle use on Crown land. He said that all off-road vehicles that operate on Crown land are now required to have a spark arrestor installed.

A spark arrestor is a small screen or other device that is installed in an exhaust system to stop sparks or other exhaust residue from exiting the tailpipe. Not having a spark arrestor could result in a fine of $460 or a penalty of up to $10,000 if an ORV without a spark arrestor is operating at a time or place where there is a risk of a wildfire starting. Anyone operating an ORV that starts a wildfire could receive a fine of $575, a penalty of up to $10,000, or a court fine of up to $1,000,000 and/or up to three years in jail. The person responsible could also be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

“These changes reflect the tougher stand that our government is taking to eliminate unnecessary wildfire risks, encourage compliance, protect communities from harm and help keep British Columbians safe,” said Donaldson.

Donaldson also announced today that fines for failing to comply with area restrictions or evacuation orders would be increasing from $767 to $1,150. The Wildfire Regulation was also amended to add a new penalty of up to $100,000 for violations related to power line operations.

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