Without any further discussion, Spallumcheen council passed a bylaw that bans open burning in residential single family (R.1) and manufactured home community (R.5) zones.
Campfires, though, are allowed in the area as long as a campfire is no larger than 0.5 metres in height and width, and they must be contained in a non-combustible base with edging to be used for cooking, recreational or ceremonial purposes.
Residents may burn dry, untreated wood only and campfires cannot be lit if a campfire ban is in effect.
Council has been debating the changes to the bylaw for the past few months, after wrongly assuming campfires were exempt from an existing open burning.
“When we changed the bylaw, the intent of the ban wasn’t to remove campfires, it was changed to no open burning whatsoever and that includes campfires,” said Coun. Christine Fraser at a council meeting in February. “Cook stoves are exempt (from the bylaw) and we assumed campfires were exempt but they’re not.”
Outdoor cook stoves and cooking food in grills and barbecues are exempt from the bylaw.
People who light fires in R.1 and R.5 zones must check Environment Canada’s ventilation index in regards to the smoke control forecast in B.C.
Someone has to be present and overseeing the fire at all times, and sufficient appliances and equipment must be in order to prevent a fire from getting out of control.
Open burning can’t be ignited or new material must not be added to an open burn – including campfires – if the ventilation index is not rated as good, weather conditions are not suitable to provide rapid dispersion of smoke emissions, an inversion forms, trapping smoke near the surface which negatively impacts a nearby population, or wind conditions could force the fire to spread beyond the controlled open burn area.
Council also gave three readings to a bylaw that will amend the fines given to burning offences.
The new bylaw calls for the omission of the $50 fine for burning in R.1 or R.5 without a permit, and $100 for burning in the zones after Dec. 31, 2013.
A $200 fine would be handed out to anyone caught open burning or having a campfire when open burning is prohibited.