It’s officially wildfire season as the Coastal Fire Centre declares no more open burns until Halloween, on the heels of a heat wave.
As of noon on May 18, category 2 and 3 open fires of burn piles or stubble/grass will be prohibited on public and private land throughout the Coastal Fire Centre (except for Haida Gwaii). The Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction covers west of the Coast Mountain Range in Canada, and includes the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, the Sea to Sky region and other areas.
Fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels or cages, and air curtain burners are also not permitted beginning May 18.
At this time, category 1 campfires that are half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller are still permitted, but must have a method of extinguishing the fire nearby. That could be a hand tool or at least eight litres of water. Flammable debris around the campfire area must also be removed prior to lighting a fire. Cooking stoves are also allowed.
Anyone found violating the ban could be ticketed $1,150 or up to $10,000. If convicted in court, they could face one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $100,000 — and if they cause or contribute to a wildfire, the firefighting costs.
The order will last until Oct. 31, unless it is rescinded earlier.
In a press release, the Coastal Fire Centre asks people to check with their local government for any other restrictions or regulations before lighting any fire.
Wildfires, unattended campfires and open fire violations should be reported to 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone. More information can be found at www.bcwildfire.ca.