Houston is encountering its first fire bans of the season.
As of noon, May 13, the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC) is imposing a Category 2 & Category 3 open fire prohibition. It applies to the entire Bulkley Zone and Nadina Zone, which, in addition to the towns of Smithers and Burns Lake, also covers the entire Lakes District region.
It does not apply within the town boundaries of Houston, which has its own fire protection services and bylaws.
“This open burning prohibition will prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety,” said a spokesperson for the NWFC.
According to provincial regulations, a Category 2 & 3 open fire includes the following:
- One to two concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide or burning stubble or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares;
- burning of one or more windrows;
- burning of stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares; and
“This prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane, or briquettes,” said the NWFC’s statement. “Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and divert critical resources away from lightning-caused fires. Always practice safe, responsible fire use where permitted.”
This prohibition will remain in place until 12 noon on June 15, or until the public is otherwise notified.
“Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, may be 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,” said NWFC personnel.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone.