Victoria/Fraser Valley -The time has arrived, along with the warmer weather, to be aware of fire/burning regulations when camping or simply burning brush or stumps. Campfires are allowed for now.
Effective at noon on June 7, 2017, Category 2 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, except in Haida Gwaii and the “Fog Zone”, to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.
This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 20, 2017 or until the public is otherwise notified. A map of the affected area is available online at: http://ow.ly/zmy830cl1sg
This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands within the Coastal Fire Centre, but does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.
The Fog Zone is a two-kilometre strip of land along the outer coast of Vancouver Island, stretching from Owen Point (near Port Renfrew) north to the tip of Vancouver Island and around to the boundary of the District of Port Hardy. This strip extends inland two kilometres from the high tide point. A map of the Fog Zone is available online at: http://ow.ly/bCJc30caIul
Specifically, this prohibition 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, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
- the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)
This prohibition does not ban campfires that are smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide, or apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5
People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area and they must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire. Ensure that the fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Anyone lighting larger fires (Category 3 fires) or more than two fires of any size must comply with open burning regulations and must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1 888 797-1717. They must also check venting conditions before lighting the fire. If the venting conditions in the area are rated “poor” or “fair”, open burning is restricted. The venting index can be obtained by calling 1 888 281-2992 or visiting: www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/epdpa/venting/venting.html
Anyone who lights, fuels or uses an open fire when a fire prohibition is in place or fails to comply with an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150 or, if convicted in court, be 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 subject to a penalty of up to $100,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The Coastal Fire Centre covers all of the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire 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, go to: www.bcwildfire.ca
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