Campfire ban rescinded in Northwest Fire Centre

Fire danger rating for Burns Lake area was lowered July 21.

Effective at noon on Wednesday July 22, 2015, campfires will once again be allowed throughout the Northwest Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

The following activities will be allowed:

– Campfires (no larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide);

– Outdoor stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses;

– Tiki torches, burn barrels and chimineas.

However, category two open burning, category three open burning, fireworks and firecrackers will remain prohibited throughout the Northwest Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.

Category two open burning includes one to two concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide, as well as stubble or grass burning over an area less than 0.2 hectares. Category three open burning includes any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide, as well as three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide.

The category two and category three open burning prohibitions will remain in place until Sept. 30, 2015, or until the public is otherwise notified.

These prohibitions cover all B.C. 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.

The fire danger rating in the Northwest Fire Centre currently ranges from “low” to “high.”

The fire danger rating for Burns Lake as of July 21 was “low,” which means fires may start easily and spread quickly but there will be minimal involvement of deeper fuel layers or larger fuels.

Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire site and have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire. The person must make sure that the campfire is completely out and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, 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.

The Northwest Fire Centre advises residents to check with local authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.