VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Government is asking members of the public to do everything they can to prevent wildfires and amid continued hot and dry conditions across much of the province.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development says that the month of August is generally the most active part of B.C.’s wildfire season.
Since April 1st, the BC Wildfire Service has responded to 1,260 wildfires throughout B.C., 27 percent of which were human-caused.
“The men and women of the BC Wildfire Service are working long hours in sometimes very difficult conditions, so I’m asking everyone to do their part to prevent wildfires and not add to their workload,” said Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson. “Be careful when you’re out in the backcountry. Follow the rules and avoid any activities that could start a wildfire.”
Donaldson is reminding drone operators, recreational boaters and users of other types of watercraft to stay clear of areas where firefighting aircraft are operating.
Interference with their efforts could have deadly consequences and result in large fines, or even jail time, for those involved.
“When air tankers or helicopters are working around wildfires or picking up water from nearby lakes, they need lots of room to manoeuvre,” said Donaldson. “People who get in the way pose a serious safety risk for the aircrews and anyone else in the area. They also cause delays in getting fires under control.”
Campfires are currently banned everywhere in British Columbia except within the Prince George Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.
In those areas where campfires are still allowed, people are urged to use caution and remain vigilant.
Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150. Those persons may also be required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or if convicted in court be 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.
Information about open burning prohibitions in effect is available on the BC Wildfire Service website: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans
To report a wildfire or open-burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free, or *5555 on a cellphone.