The BC Wildfire Service is advising the public that effective at noon (Pacific time) on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, Category 3 open fires 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 caused by Category 3 burning and to protect public safety.
Based at the Castlegar municipal airport, the Southeast Fire Centre, extends from the U.S. border to Mica Dam and from the Okanagan Highlands/west side of the Monashee Mountains to the B.C./Alberta border. Within this area also lie several provincial parks including Valhalla, Kokanee Glacier, Top of the World and Elk Lakes. A map indicating the areas affected by this prohibition is available online.
Specifically, prohibited activities that would constitute a Category 3 open fire include:
- any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
- three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
- burning of one or more windrows; and
- burning of stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.
Anyone conducting a Category 3 fire anywhere in the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction must extinguish it by the June 12 deadline. This prohibition will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.
This prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). Check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.
This prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a high-metre wide or smaller, and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
This prohibition also does not ban Category 2 fires, which include one or two concurrently burning piles up to two metres high by three metres wide each, or the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares.
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $100,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to up 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, as well as the value of the resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.
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.
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 BC Wildfire Service.