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General · 23rd July 2012
Deb Cowper

PARKSVILLE – Effective at noon on July 20, 2012, a Category 2 open fire and fireworks prohibition will be expanded to include all areas within the Coastal Fire Centre except Haida Gwaii.

This prohibition is intended to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. It will remain in place until September 15, 2012 or until the public is otherwise notified.
Specifically, this prohibits:

 The burning of any waste, slash or other material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres
in height and three metres in width.
 The burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 2,000 square metres.
 The use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description.

The ban does not prohibit campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

Category 3 open burning, used for resource management reasons, is still allowed. However, anyone conducting this type of open burning may only conduct one burn at a time and must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1-888 797-1717.

More information about open burning regulations and fire prohibitions can be found at http://bcwildfire.ca. A map of the area covered by this prohibition is available at Coastal Prohibitions.

The prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department. Please check with civic authorities for any restrictions before lighting a fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire ban may be fined $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Coastal B.C. has experienced a wet spring, but current weather conditions are drying forest fuels quickly. The public is reminded to exercise caution when camping or visiting forested lands this summer.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including South Tweedsmuir Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, all of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

The only area exempt from the current fire prohibition is Haida Gwaii.

Report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit www.bcwildfire.ca.

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo