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Southeast Fire Centre urges caution with open burning

There have been 18 fires in the Southeast Fire Centre, 12 were human-caused.

The recent dry spell hovering over the province has prompted the BC Wildfire Service to remind the public that a Category 3 fire prohibition is in place throughout the Southeast Fire Centre's jurisdiction.

"As weather conditions get drier and hotter, people are urged to use extreme caution while conducting any outdoor burning activities," the media release said. "Almost all wildfires in the region at this time of year are caused by people. Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and can divert crucial firefighting resources away from naturally occurring wildfires."

The Southeast Fire Centre said as temperatures rise, fine fuels on the forest floor (such as tree needles and wood debris) become highly flammable.

"Since April 1, 2017, 18 wildfires have burned 38 hectares in the Southeast Fire Centre. Six of those fires were sparked by lightning while the remaining 12 were human-caused. By the same time last year, 37 wildfires had burned 312 hectares."

A map of the area affected by the current Category 3 prohibition is available online at: http://ow.ly/Q7S430ct2C0

A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available at: www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs

  • Anyone wishing to light an allowable open fire must watch for changing weather, follow all burning regulations and take the following precautions:
  • Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
  • Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
  • Create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time.

Before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department and local government to find out if any other open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are burning in a safe and responsible manner and in accordance with current restrictions. Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, 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, 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, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo