Open fire ban still in effect in Southeast Fire Centre
Despite the rains cooler temperatures that have blanketed the Kootenays during the past few weeks, the Southeast Fire Centre want to warn the public that open fires remain prohibited throughout the Fire Centre.
The Southeast Fire Centre said in a media release the region receives the least amount of precipitation in the months of August and September.
Although some areas have received increased amounts of precipitation recently, it may not be sufficient to reduce wildfire risks in the long term.
Specifically, the current open fire prohibition applies to:
- the burning of any waste, slash or other materials
- stubble or grass fires of any size over any area
- the use of fireworks, sky lanterns or burning barrels of any size or description
The open fire prohibition does not apply to campfires that are smaller than a half-metre wide and a half-metre high, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
The Wildfire Management Branch investigates all reports of smoke, including those involving prohibited burning activities. Human-caused wildfires can divert critical resources and crews from responding to naturally occurring wildfires.
The Southeast Fire Centre said anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and 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 $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The Southeast Fire Centre covers the area extending 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. It includes the Selkirk Natural Resource District and the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, 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: http://www.bcwildfire.ca
- So far this year in British Columbia, 1,260 wildfires have burned 312,618 hectares of land, compared to 11,351 hectares in 2013. The 10-year average for this time of year is 93,664 hectares.
- More than 1,350 provincial staff, nearly 650 B.C. contractors, over 360 out-of-province personnel and 75 personnel from Australia are currently engaged in fire response efforts in B.C.