BC Wildfire Service announced the partial lifting of the campfire ban that had been re-imposed on the Northwest Fire Centre since Aug. 31. This decision, effective at 12 p.m. on Sept. 12, arrives amid a more rainy period experienced in the region, particularly in areas like Terrace.
Residents and visitors in the Cassiar Fire Zone, Skeena Fire Zone, and the Bulkley Fire Zone can now once again enjoy Category 1 campfires. This includes communities such as Atlin in the Cassiar Fire Zone; Terrace, Prince Rupert, Thornhill, and Kitimat in the Skeena Fire Zone; and Smithers and Houston in the Bulkley Fire Zone.
However, the joy of sitting around a campfire comes with its safety stipulations. A Category 1 campfire is an open fire that burns piled material, not exceeding dimensions of 0.5 metres in height and width. For those lighting such a campfire, BC Wildfire Service mandates the following:
- Ready access to a shovel or at least eight litres of water throughout the fire’s duration.
- A clear fuel break around the campfire, ensuring no debris or combustible materials are nearby.
- Ensuring the fire is completely extinguished and ashes are cold to the touch before leaving it unattended.
Residents in the Nadina Fire Zone, including Burns Lake, are still under the Category 1 campfire ban. The ban extends to tikis and other similar torches, binary exploding targets, burn barrels or burn cages of any size, and air curtain burners.
Furthermore, both Category 2 and Category 3 open burning continue to be prohibited across the Northwest Fire Centre. This prohibition also extends to the use of fireworks, including firecrackers, and sky lanterns.
Violators of these prohibitions should be wary. Contravening an open-burning prohibition could result in a violation ticket of $1,150. Worse yet, violators might face an administrative penalty up to $10,000. If the case goes to court and they are convicted, the penalties can skyrocket to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a jail sentence of one year. Those found responsible for causing or contributing to a wildfire will be ordered to bear all firefighting and associated costs.
BC Wildfire Service continues to urge caution and reminds the public that while the bans have been relaxed, safety should remain a top priority.
Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.