Effective at 8 a.m. on tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 7) and until further notice, Category 1, 2 and 3 open fires, including fireworks and burning barrels, are permitted throughout the Southeast Fire Centre, says a spokeswoman for the Centre.
“The rescinding of this open fire ban applies to all public and private property,” Gwen Eamer said in a statement. “However, regional districts or municipalities may have their own burning restrictions in effect. Please check with your local authorities before lighting a fire within municipal boundaries.”
Although open burning is now permitted, there is still a risk of wildfire in many areas. Moisture content in fine fuels is as low now as it was at this time following the very active fire seasons in 2003 and 2007. The Southeast Fire Centre is relying on the public to comply with legal requirements when burning. Anyone who lights a fire must have sufficient people, water and hand tools nearby to extinguish it and must never leave it unattended. Failure to exercise due diligence with open fires can result in a fine of $173. Under the Wildfire Act, an individual found responsible for causing a wildfire may face a fine from $100,000 to $1 million, one to three years imprisonment, or both.
A Category 1 open fire means an open fire that burns piled material no larger than one metre high and one metre wide. A Category 2 open fire means an open fire that burns piled material no larger than two metres high and three metres wide, or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size. A Category 3 open fire means an open fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide, windrows, or grass over an larger than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size.
Anyone considering a Category 3 fire must be aware of local conditions, and must obtain a burn registration number by calling 1-888-797-1717. Category 2 or 3 burns must also comply with the Ministry of Environment’s Waste Management Act and Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. For more information, please visit www.bcairquality.ca. Individuals who fail to meet these requirements may be subject to fines.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. For more information on open fire restrictions or for updates on current wildfire activity, please visit www.bcwildfire.ca or call 1-888-3FOREST.