Despite almost all of B.C. being under a campfire ban, conservation officers caught a number of outdoor enthusiasts with unlawful fires burning Friday night.
In the East Kootenay region, $4,600 in fines were issued in relation to four separate fires during fire ban patrols, according to the BC Conservation Officer Service
“What were the campers thinking?,” B.C.’s conservation service tweeted Saturday.
A penny for your thoughts unfortunately equated to 460,000 pennies ($4,600) in the form of fines, being issued by East Kootenay BCCOS re 4 unlawful camp fires encountered during fire ban patrols last night. 252 wildfires in SE BC recorded in 2018. What were the campers thinking? pic.twitter.com/Bdt1OOUCVM
— BC CO Service (@_BCCOS) August 4, 2018
The Prince George fire zone is the only region of the province currently exempt from campfire bans.
B.C. Day long weekend comes after a week of lightning storms sparked more than 130 new wildfires in the Okanagan, Kootenays and North.
Wildfire crews are currently battling 281 blazes. That includes the Snowy Mountain and Placer Mountain wildfires – burning at a combined total of 13,000 hectares in size.
Anyone found breaking campfire bans can be issued a violation ticket for $1,150 and may be required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000. If convicted in court, the fine can reach up to $100,000 and and paired with a one-year jail sentence.
If breaking the rules cause or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
‘Think about the firefighters’: Butt out, stay safe and obey campfire bans