Most open burning to be banned in British Columbia

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. – According to the BC government, most open burning activities will be prohibited throughout British Columbia to reduce human-caused wildfires, although campfires will still be allowed.

As of noon (Pacific time) on Thursday, April 16, 2020, the following activities will be restricted and will remain in effect until the public is notified:

  • Category 2 open fires;
  • Category 3 open fires;
  • Resource Management open fires;
  • the use of fireworks;
  • the use of sky lanterns; and
  • the use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description (except when used for a campfire).
  • Campfires will still be allowed during this time

The government says the prohibitions apply to all public and private land within British Columbia unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). It is recommended you check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

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To view a poster explaining different categories of open burning; CLICK HERE

To view a map of the affected areas; CLICK HERE 

The government believes this will help reduce the demands on firefighting resources by implementing open burning prohibitions. The bans will also impact the reduction of wildfire smoke on air quality and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These open burning prohibitions also support the BC Centre for Disease Control’s recommendation to help reduce excess air pollution in airsheds throughout the province.

According to the government, all illegal fires will be investigated, and charges may be laid under the Wildfire Act or Wildfire Regulation, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation 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, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

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