Effective as of Sept. 7, category two and category three open fires are now permitted throughout the Northwest and Prince George Fire Centres according to a press release from the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC). Fireworks, firecrackers and sky lanterns are allowed as well.
These activities have been prohibited since the end of June due to prolonged hot and dry weather conditions present at the time. This prohibition was also initiated to protect the health and safety of the public and B.C. Wildfire Service staff. With recent precipitation and cooler temperatures the wildfire risk has been greatly reduced thereby allowing senior staff at the NWFC to rescind category two and three open fires.
Category two fires include one or two concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide as well as stubble or grass burning over an area of less than 0.2 hectares in size. Category three fires include any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide, three or more concurrently burning piles each no larger than two metres high by three metres wide, and the burning of one or more windrows.
According to the NWFC, anyone wishing to light a Category three open fire must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717. A burn registration number is not required to light a category two open fire.
In the release, the NWFC states that the public is strongly encouraged to exercise caution with any outdoor burning and campfire use and that it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that burning is done in a safe and responsible manner in accordance with regulations.
The latest update from the B.C Wildfire Service of the Chief Louis Lake wildfire located 20km south of Ootsa Lake came on Aug. 27, and said that the size of the fire is 20,750 hectares and is considered active. According to the update, the cool, wet conditions have bolstered the work of firefighters, heavy equipment and aerial resources over the past weeks and fire behaviour has been reduced. Aug. 28 was the last day with firefighters on location, but B.C. Wildfire Service is still monitoring the Chief Louie Lake wildfire and will act accordingly. Crews will continue to be available to respond to any increase in fire activity, however, very little activity is expected.
The cause of the fire was lightning and it was originally discovered discovered on July 7.
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