The Cariboo Fire Centre and Wildfire Management branch has already responded to 27 wildfires this season.
“Almost all of these fires have been the result of open burning, and thus could have been prevented,” the CFC noted in a press release Monday, adding the CFC would like to remind the public about its open burning prohibition.
“The CFC/WMB’s prohibition bans all backyard and industrial burning, including waste, slash, stubble and grass.Campfires are still permitted, but they must be kept under a half-metre by half-metre in size and the usual precautions must be taken (have at least eight litres of water and a tool on hand, do not light in windy conditions never leave unattended, extinguish until cold to the touch).”
The prohibition came into effect at noon on April 15 and was put in place two weeks later than last season.
Despite the current weather that is relatively cool and wet, Environment Canada’s spring/summer outlook for the Cariboo-Chilcotin shows above-normal drought codes and anomalies, above-normal temperatures, below-normal snowpacks and below-normal precipitation.
So far the CFC/WMB is by far the busiest region in B.C. this season.
This is also the time of year when holdover fires could resurface. Holdovers are fires that have been improperly extinguished, continue to smoulder underground and then reignite.
During critical wildfire situations, the CFC/WMB can’t afford to risk having person-caused fires divert time, personnel, money and resources from naturally occurring fires. The prohibition will help reduce the number of these preventable wildfires so we can focus our efforts where they are needed most.
The prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have wildfire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department.
Please check with civic authorities for any restrictions before lighting a fire.
In certain circumstances, exemptions to the prohibition can be granted on a case-by-case basis. People should contact their local zone office if they wish to apply for an exemption.
Anyone found burning during the prohibition may be fined $345, and if that fire creates a wildfire they may be held responsible for all firefighting costs. A number of warning and violation tickets have been already been issued.
The CFC covers an area of about 10.3-million hectares, stretching from Look Lake near Clinton in the south, to the Cottonwood River near Quesnel in the north, Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the west and Wells Gray Provincial Park in the east.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cellphone. For more information on open fire restrictions or for updates on current wildfire activity, visit bcwildfire.ca.