FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Effective noon on Saturday, category two open fires and the use of fireworks will be prohibited within the Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Fort Nelson fire zones.
The BC Wildfire Service is implementing these prohibitions to help prevent wildfires sparked by Category 2 burns, due to dry and windy conditions in the forecast. These prohibitions will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.
Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that of the nine wildfires that have started in the B.C. Peace Region so far this year, none were started by natural causes. Reynolds explained that though none of the fires in the region have burned more than 100 hectares, fire officials decided to ban Category Two fires in order to lower the potential for a repeat of the situation of two years ago. In late April and early May, several thousand area residents were evacuated from their homes near Fort St. John during a particularly dry Spring.
The prohibitions will apply to Category 2 fires:
- the open burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high and three metres wide
- burning barrels
- stubble or grass fires over an area smaller than 2,000 square metres
The prohibition does not apply to category three fires or campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area, and they must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.
These prohibitions cover all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department. Please 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 $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.
Report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling 1 800 663-5555 toll-free, or *5555 on a cell phone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca