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Partial open fire prohibition to take effect in northwest

Due to increasing temperatures in parts of the Northwest Fire Centre, the BC Wildfire Service will implement a Category 2 open fire prohibition within the Nadina, Bulkley and Skeena fire zones of the Northwest Fire Centre.

This prohibition will come into effect at noon on Monday, May 6, 2019.

The Stikine portion of the Skeena/Stikine Forest District (the Cassiar Fire Zone) is not included in this Category 2 open fire prohibition. The Cassiar Fire Zone lies north of Stewart and Bell II and extends to the Yukon border.

A map of the areas affected by the prohibition is available online: http://ow.ly/mPdb30oCYFC

The Northwest Fire Centre is taking this proactive approach to protect public safety and help prevent any backyard burns or grass fires spreading to nearby forests. The prohibition will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.

The definition of a Category 2 open fire is:

* one to two concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres wide by two metres high; or

* the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares.

Currently, the Northwest Fire Centre is not restricting the use of the following items, which are usually included in a Category 2 open fire prohibition:

* fireworks, including firecrackers;

* tiki torches and similar torches;

* sky lanterns;

* chimineas, outdoor stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses not CSA approved or ULA approved;

* burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description; and

* binary exploding targets.

Currently, the BC Wildfire Service is also not restricting larger Category 3 open fires. However, the Northwest Fire Centre will contact holders of burn registration numbers and ask them to refrain from lighting burn piles for the foreseeable future. Any burn registration number holders, who may already have piles burning, will be asked to let them burn out. New burn registration numbers will not be issued at this time.

The Category 2 prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). Check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in prison. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

The Northwest Fire Centre extends from B.C.’s border with the Yukon Territory in the north to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the south, and from the Pacific Ocean and Alaska border in the west to just east of Endako.

To report a wildfire or an open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

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