Southeast Fire Centre urges caution with outdoor burns
The dry winter has the Southeast Fire Centre asking the public to exercise caution with any outdoor burning activities.
The favour is due to an increased wildfire risk in the region.
“The Southeast Fire Centre is experiencing unseasonably mild temperatures, spring-like conditions and low relative humidity,” Jordan Turner,
Fire Information Officer Wildfire Management Branch, said in a government press release.
“These conditions increase the wildfire risk in snow-free areas.”
The release said as the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovered and that material can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of the year are caused by people and are therefore preventable.
Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to consult the B.C. FireSmart manual 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 at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
- If you are planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and help stop the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and must be completely extinguished before starting a new fire.
- 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.
- Winds in this region tend to be calm in the morning but increase in the afternoon and evenings, which can lead to quickly spreading grass fires.
To view the B.C. FireSmart manual, visit:
Anyone planning to conduct a grass burn over 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires) or do any large-scale industrial burning, you must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717.
Before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department, municipality and regional district to check if there are any open burning restrictions or bylaws in effect.
Venting conditions should always be checked before conducting an open burn. If conditions are rated “poor” or “fair”, open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/epdpa/venting/venting.html
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 $345 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.
The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses the area extending from the United States border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands or Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain resource districts.
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