Use caution with open burning: BC Wildfire Service

Warm and dry weather this May long weekend has the BC Wildfire Service warning people to use caution lighting their campfires.

This weekend’s weather forecast is calling for a warming and drying trend and above-seasonal temperatures in northern areas of the province, so the BC Wildfire Service is encouraging members of the public to exercise caution with any campfires and outdoor burning.

Anyone wishing to light an open fire must watch for changing weather conditions and follow all burning regulations to help reduce the number of preventable wildfires. This is particularly important from Tweedsmuir Park to the Yukon border, since the fire danger rating in parts of the Northwest Fire Centre is expected to be “high” over the weekend.

People planning to conduct an open burn should take the following precautions:

* Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.

* Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.

* Create a fireguard at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.

* If you are planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and help prevent the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and must be completely extinguished before starting a new fire.

* Never leave a fire unattended.

* Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to touch before you leave the area for any length of time.

Anyone planning to burn a pile larger than two metres by three metres, or conduct a grass burn larger than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires) must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1 888 797-1717.

Before conducting any burn, check with your local fire department and local government to see if there are any other open burning restrictions or bylaws in effect.

Always check the venting conditions before conducting an open burn. If venting conditions are rated “poor” or “fair”, open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/ventilation-index.html

If a fire escapes, the person responsible may be fined up to $100,000 and held liable for fire suppression costs and damages. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are burning in a safe, responsible manner that is in accordance with current restrictions.

Up-to-date information about burning restrictions and current wildfire activity can be obtained by calling 1 888 3-FOREST (1 888 336-7378). It is also available online at http://www.bcwildfire.ca

Follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter at: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook at: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

To report a wildfire, please call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

 

Released by

Haley Williams

Fire Information Officer

BC Wildfire Service

Northwest Fire Centre