As of Friday, May 13, open burning restrictions have come into effect for all of Vancouver Island, except a narrow band along the West Coast known as the Fog Zone, the BC Wildfire Service announced Thursday, May 12.
“Category 2 open fires will be prohibited in most areas of the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety,” an information bulletin states.
The prohibition does not ban campfires that are smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide, and it doesn’t ban cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
But people lighting campfires are reminded to maintain a fire guard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area, and to have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly put out the fire.
“Campfires must be fully extinguished when not attended,” the advisory states.
A map of the restricted area can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/1TApT1V, and a description of open burning categories is available at http://bit.ly/1GlhE9l
The prohibition will be in effect until Oct. 21, and applies to:
• The burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high and three metres wide.
• The burning of stubble or grass fires over an area less than 2,000 square metres.
• The use of fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, or burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description, and the use of binary exploding targets (e.g., for rifle target practice).
Anyone lighting larger fires, or more than two fires of any size, must obtain a burn registration number by calling 1-888-797-1717 the bulletin says.
Ignoring the ban could land you with a stiff penalty, or even in jail. The bulletin says tickets of up to $1,150 can be issued, or if a person is convicted in court, fines up to $100,000 can be charged and terms of up to one year in jail imposed.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.