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You Can Be Fined Up To $100K If You Start An Open Fire In BC This Long Weekend

Open Fire In BC

People across the province will be looking to spend time outdoors over the Labour Day long weekend, but are being reminded to be careful with any open fire in BC.

With warm weather in the forecast, there is still the potential for forest fuels and grasslands to dry out in many areas.

“I hope that all British Columbians can enjoy the Labour Day long weekend with friends and family,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“While this fire season hasn’t been as active as the past two summers, we still need everyone to remain vigilant and act responsibly.”

Between April 1st and August 28th, 2019, the BC Wildfire Service responded to 696 wildfires throughout the province. 57% of those fires were caused by people.

Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

Campfires

  • Campfires are currently allowed in all areas of the province that fall under the BC Wildfire Service’s jurisdiction. However, people should check with local governments and other authorities (e.g., BC Parks) to see if they have any burning restrictions or bylaws in effect.
  • Campfires must not be larger than 0.5 metres high or 0.5 metres wide.
  • Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly, and wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
  • Maintain a fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, leaves, kindling, etc.) have been removed right down to the soil.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available to properly extinguish your campfire.
  • Make sure that the ashes are cool to the touch before retiring for the night or leaving the area for any length of time.

Additional precautions:

  • Anyone riding an all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike on Crown land must have a spark arrestor installed on the vehicle. Check the condition of the muffler, regularly clear buildups of grass or other vegetation from hot spots, stay on dirt paths and avoid tall grass and weeds to help reduce wildfire risks.
  • Smokers must dispose of cigarette butts and other smoking materials responsibly, ensuring that those materials are completely extinguished and disposed of properly.

Open Fire In BC Fines

For anyone who is found to be in violation of these prohibitions, they could be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, or required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000.

Likewise, if convicted in court, they could be fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.

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