Illegal fires diverting critical resources
CASTLEGAR - BC Wildfire Service firefighting personnel and structural protection crews have been busy dismantling illegal burn piles put in place in anticipation of Canada Day celebrations, and the RCMP have been consulted. These incidents divert critical resources from responding to wildfires and other emergencies.
The Southeast Fire Centre is reminding people that the current Category 2 and 3 open burning prohibitions in place specifically prohibit fires other than campfires, as defined in the wildfire regulation.
The Fire Danger Rating is high in many areas of the Southeast Fire Centre region, and is expected to escalate. Additionally, there have been 53 new lightning-caused fires since last Thursday, and more lightning is expected through the weekend. It is imperative that BC Wildfire Service personnel remain available to respond to these naturally occurring fires.
Large party fires are illegal, and can easily grow out of control. Any person allowing a large party fire on their property can expect the gathering to be dismantled and fines to be issued.
Anyone present at a party fire that grows out of control may be held liable for full suppression costs.
Due to hot and dry conditions, a campfire prohibition will be put in place at noon Pacific on July 3, 2015 to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.
Campfires must be less than a half-metre wide by a half-metre high and must never be left unattended. Anyone lighting a campfire must ensure they have a hand tool such as a shovel or at least eight litres of water readily available to properly extinguish the fire. The ashes must be cold to the touch before leaving the area.
Anyone found in contravention of a fire 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.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.