Open fires over 2 metres high and 3 metres wide will be prohibited as of April 15. Photo courtesy Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services.

Open fires over 2 metres high and 3 metres wide will be prohibited as of April 15. Photo courtesy Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services.

Open fire ban starts Friday

It’s barely spring, but already the open fire bans are starting.

This week the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) Category 2 and 3 fires will not be allowed starting Friday “due to current and forecast weather conditions in parts of the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC).”

The prohibition goes into effect at noon on April 15.

Category 2 open fires are: a) material in 1 or 2 piles not exceeding 2-metres in height and 3-metres in width, or b) stubble or grass burning over an area that does not exceed 0.2 hectares.

Category 3 fires include: a) any fire larger than 2-metres high by 3-metres wide, b) three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than 2-metres high by 3-metres wide, c) one or more burning windrows, or d) stubble or grass burning over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.

“Despite the current cooler temperatures throughout the region, relative humidity levels are low throughout areas of the NWFC,” a press release stated. “Gusting winds, little precipitation and a warming trend is in the long-term forecast and are the trigger points for this pro-active open fire prohibition.”

The ban does not apply to reasonably-sized campfires or to fireworks, firecrackers or sky lanterns.

The BCWS is warning people that if their burning results in a wildfire they could be found responsible for the government’s fire control costs and any related damages to Crown resources. In addition, administrative penalties can run up to $100,000 for transgressions of regulations in the Wildfire Act and Regulation.

The NWFC has recently responded to several escaped grass fires with one fire burning down an outbuilding, the release said.