Campfire ban in force in the Northwest Fire Centre area

Hot and dry weather is in the forecast for the northwest part of the province, so the BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public that all open burning, including campfires, remains prohibited in the entire Northwest Fire Centre.

The current wildfire risk in southern parts of the fire centre is “high” to “extreme” and the provincial wildfire situation remains serious. Fire crews from throughout the province are being deployed to fight wildfires in the Cariboo and other parts of southern B.C.

Although sufficient firefighting resources remain in the Northwest Fire Centre to deal with current fire activity here, it is vital that BC Wildfire Service resources not be diverted to respond to unnecessary and preventable human-caused fires. Open fires, including campfires, present an unacceptable risk and detract from detection and response capabilities by increasing the number of “false alarm” smoke chases and nuisance fires.

The Northwest Fire Centre would like to thank everyone for their continued co-operation by complying with the open burning prohibitions. Fire wardens are on patrol to educate people about the campfire ban and they are issuing violation tickets to people participating in prohibited activities. A ticket for “lighting, fueling or use of fire against regulations” carries a fine of $1,150 and applies to every person in the fire’s vicinity.

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

  • campfires
  • the burning of waste, slash or other materials
  • stubble or grass fires of any size over any area
  • fires burning woody debris in outdoor stoves
  • the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
  • the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for target practice)

These prohibitions do not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel — so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.

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 and is serviced by a fire department. Always check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.

A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/UUIV30dvxWM

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.

For more information on fire-related fines and penalties, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirefines

The Northwest Fire Centre covers the area extending from Tweedsmuir North Provincial Park in the south to the Yukon border in the north and from just west of Endako in the east to the Alaska border and the north coast in the west. It includes the Nadina, Bulkley and Skeena-Stikine natural resource districts.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 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: http://www.bcwildfire.ca