THE provincial government has banned campfires and open burning over a large portion of northwestern B.C.
Exceptionally dry weather over the past week has also prompted the City of Terrace to join in on a ban in an attempt to prevent human-caused wildfires.
Campfires and open-burning are prohibited in the Nadina region, which encompasses Houston and Burns Lake, the Bulkley region around Smithers, and the Skeena region across Terrace, Kitimat, and the Nass Valley with the exception of a small sliver of land around Prince Rupert.
Campfires are still allowed in the Prince Rupert area spanning from the U.S. border on the Alaska panhandle south to the Skeena river and east to Rainbow Summit on Hwy 16.
“The north-coast is usually excluded from fire bans because they have wetter weather,” explained provincial fire information officer Olivia Pojar of Prince Rupert’s exception.
The ban by the City of Terrace means that all outdoor fires, including ones with a burn registration number and industrial burning, are prohibited, but it does not apply to campfires at the Ferry Island Campground, which are still allowed.
In the surrounding region, campfires and other burning is banned in B.C. provincial parks, and on private and crown land, said Pojar.
This ban extends to industrial and backyard burning, using outdoor stoves and other open-flame appliances that are not approved by the CSA or the UCL, the use of fireworks, firecrackers, tiki torches, sky lanterns, chimineas and burning barrels, and the use of binary exploding targets
Open-flame appliances, such as camp-stoves with the proper certification, which use gas, propane, or briquettes are still allowed as long as the flame is not higher than 15 centimetres.
The ban will be re-evaluated – based on weather conditions and current fire activity – daily and will continue to remain in effect unless the public is notified otherwise.
Anyone who does not follow an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
“There were also bans briefly around this time last year in the Skeena region,” Pojar said.
Last year, a ban also came into effect in early July, but that ban only lasted for one day. Another campfire and open-burning prohibition came into effect for a few weeks last August, but only a ban on open burning continued into September.
To report smoke, flames, unattended campfires or non-compliant open burning, call 1-800-663-5555 or dial *5555 on your cell phone.