VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Firefighters say some people aren’t getting the message about just how dangerous the current fire danger is in this province.
More than 50 illegal campfires were put out over the weekend in the Coastal Fire zone alone.
Donna MacPherson speaks for the Coastal Fire Centre.
“Our intention is that we will be ticketing any people that we can, including all of the people that are using the fire at the time. Unfortunately, if this habit continues we will have to examine whether or not we will be closing the rec sites.”
That refers to some backcountry areas and she says BC Parks has the ability to shut down its facilities as well.
She also says in some cases when firefighters come to put out these illegal fires, people are re-igniting them once the crew leaves.
MacPherson is pleading with people to be more responsible:
“We can’t afford fires here on the coast because it means that our resources have to go deal with fires that really didn’t need to happen.”
She says a wildfire on the coast is the last thing firefighters need right now because the resources are needed on the Interior wildfires.
“We have a state of emergency in the province right now and that means thtat all of us have to pull together.”
The BC Wildfire Service issued the following release urging people to comply with the various bans around the province
Where open fires are prohibited, the following activities are also prohibited:
- Open fires of woody debris in outdoor stoves
- Tiki torches, fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
- The use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)
The current prohibition does not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.
If violations of open fire prohibitions continue, the B.C. government may choose to close problematic recreation sites to the public. The Coastal Fire Centre would like to remind the public about applicable fines for open burning violations:
- Section 2, Fail to report fire: $383
- Section 3 (1), Drop, release or mishandle burning substance: $575
- Section 3 (2), Fail to extinguish burning substance: $575
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 $1,150 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.
- Section 5 (1), Light, fuel or use fire against regulations: $1,150
- Section 5 (2) (a), Fail to extinguish fire: $575
- Section 5 (2) (b), Fail to report fire: $575