Vancouver Island under burn ban starting May 18

Small campfires still allowed under Cat. 2 open fire prohibition

Small campfires are still allowed, but other open burns will be prohibited on most of Vancouver Island beginning at noon on Friday, May 18, 2018, The BC Wildfire Service reported Thursday morning.

All Category 2 open burns will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, with the exception of the Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District and the “Fog Zone,” a two-km strip of coastline along the west coast and the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

The prohibition is intended to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety, the BC Wildfire Service stated in a written release. It will remain in effect until Oct. 20, 2018, or until the public is otherwise notified.

A map of the affected area is available at http://ow.ly/CPeC30k2k0J

These prohibitions apply to all public and private land unless specified otherwise, for example in a local government bylaw. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

Specifically, the Category 2 prohibition applies to:

• The burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high and three metres wide;

• The burning of stubble or grass fires over an area less than 2,000 square metres;

• The use of fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description; and

• The use of binary exploding targets (e.g., for rifle target practice).

This prohibition does not ban campfires that are smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide, or apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5

People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire site and they must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire, the Coastal Fire Centre reported. They also must ensure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Anyone lighting larger fires (Category 3 fires) or more than two fires of any size must comply with open burning regulations and must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1-888-797-1717. They must also check venting conditions before lighting a Category 3 fire. If venting conditions in the area are rated “poor” or “fair,” open burning is restricted. The venting index can be obtained by calling 1-888-281-2992.

Anyone who lights, fuels or uses an open fire when a fire prohibition is in place or fails to comply with an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150 or, if convicted in court, 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 subject to a penalty of up to $100,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: www.bcwildfire.ca.

— News staff/BC Wildfire Service release

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