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All open burning remains prohibited in Northwest

The ticket for having a fire against regulations is $1,150, fines are up to $100,000.

The hot and dry weather has spread north, so the BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public that all open burning remains prohibited in the entire Northwest Fire Centre. That includes campfires.

The Town of Smithers open fire ban is also in effect, so burning inside and outside of town is prohibited.

The current wildfire risk in southern parts of the fire centre is “high” to “extreme” and the provincial wildfire situation remains serious. Fire crews from throughout the province, including Smithers, are deployed to fight wildfires in the Cariboo and other parts of southern B.C.

BC Wildfire said in a realease though sufficient firefighting resources remain in the Northwest Fire Centre to deal with current fire activity here, it is vital that BC Wildfire Service resources not be diverted to respond to unnecessary and preventable human-caused fires. Open fires present an unacceptable risk and detract from detection and response capabilities by increasing the number of “false alarm” smoke chases and nuisance fires.

Smithers Fire Rescue has responded to several fire calls during the current ban.

BC Wildfire said fire wardens are on patrol to educate people about the campfire ban and they are issuing violation tickets to people participating in prohibited activities. A ticket for “lighting, fueling or use of fire against regulations” carries a fine of $1,150 and applies to every person in the fire’s vicinity.

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

* campfires

* the burning of waste, slash or other materials

* stubble or grass fires of any size over any area

* fires burning woody debris in outdoor stoves

* the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description

* the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for target practice)

These prohibitions do not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 cm. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.

These prohibitions cover all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Most Northwest communities — including Smithers — have their own bans in effect.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, 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 ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire 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 bcwildfire.ca.

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on Twitter and Facebook: twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo and facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo.

Off-road restrictions

As of last Friday, the operation of any off-road vehicle for recreational purposes on Crown land is prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre. All on-highway vehicles must also remain on defined road surfaces.

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