Southeast Fire Centre issues Category 3 prohibition
Blame the decision the past month of May being the warmest on record, but whatever the reason the Southeast Fire Centre is already issuing a Category 3 open burns to help prevent wildfires and to protect public safety.
In a media release Monday, effective at noon Pacific Time on Friday, June 8, 2018, Category 3 open burns will be prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre's jurisdiction, which includes the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District and the Selkirk Natural Resource District.
“The BC Wildfire Service is implementing this prohibition to help prevent wildfires sparked by Category 3 burns, and to protect public safety,” the Southeast Fire Centre release said.
“Anyone conducting a Category 3 open burn anywhere within the Southeast Fire Centre must extinguish any such fire by the June 8 deadline. This prohibition will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.”
Specifically, a Category 3 prohibition applies to:
- the burning of any material (piled or unpiled) larger than two metres high or three metres wide;
- stubble or grass fires over an area larger than 2,000 square metres; and
- the burning of more than two piles of any size.
This prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise, e.g., in a local government bylaw. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.
This prohibition does not apply to campfires that are smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide; cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes; or open fires that are smaller than two metres by three metres. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online .
Anyone planning to light an open burn that is still allowed after the June 8 deadline (i.e., Category 2 open burns or campfires) must 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 at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure that the fire is completely extinguished, and the ashes are cold to the touch, before leaving the area for any length of time.
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.
The government's natural resource officers and conservation officers conduct regular patrols throughout British Columbia, and monitor high-risk activities. These officers work closely with BC Wildfire Service staff to investigate the cause of wildfires, and any improper use of fire when an open burning prohibition is in effect.
The Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west, to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east.
Report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation by calling 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: http://www.bcwildfire.ca