Large fines for failing to adhere to the provincial fire ban will be issued if found to be ignored, the Conservation Officer Service said, on July 8.
“There are no spots in the entire Skeena region allowing any campfires,” Alex Lyubomudrov, conservation officer for Prince Rupert and the Northwest region told The Northern View. The government-issued fire ban will remain in place until Oct. 9th.
The conservation officer warned that by now there is no reason that anyone should not know about or be aware of the provincial fire ban.
“We are working long hours to be proactive in fire control,” he said. “We will continue patrolling. We will see you and the fine is extremely high at $1,150 for those found.”
In addition to campfires and open fires, the following activities are also prohibited: fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description, binary exploding targets, tiki and similar kinds of torches, chimineas, outdoor stoves or other portable campfire apparatus without a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriter Laboratories of Canada (ULC) rating, and air curtain burners in Cariboo, Coastal, Northwest, Prince George and Southeast fire centres.
With the risk of fire so high due to the heatwave, the COS is taking a hard-line approach.
“There will be no warnings issued, and no excuses will be accepted,” Lyubomudrov said.
The COS is completing constant patrols and the masses of dried wood officers are seeing throughout the whole region make dangerous fuel for forest fires.
“Even in places like Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, where it rains all the time, it is still not safe for campfires or burning,” Lyubomudrov said. Ferry Island in Terrace was originally exempt from the provincial burn ban he said, however as of June 7, it is now also included.
“We are all in the same boat — everyone who loves camping, everyone needs to work together,” he said.
Along with the warnings of the fire ban, the COS is also reminding residents to keep garbage and refuse in sealed containers.
“With the heatwave and forest fires, wildlife is suffering,” he said. “So, residents may see more animals entering into communities.”
Wildlife will become attracted not just to garbage, but also to fresh food, vegetable produce, and berries being grown in residential areas.
The COS stated the public needs to stay on top of garbage control and attractant management because with the recent conditions traditional methods of response to wildlife, such as using bear traps, are harder to utilize due to heat exposure. More forceful methods of wildlife control may be necessary.
The City of Terrace’s extended its campfire ban to Ferry Island on July 7, one week after the restrictions came into effect for the rest of the municipality.
CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes or portable campfires that use briquettes, liquid fuel or gaseous fuel are permitted as long as the flame height is less than 15 centimetres tall.
In a media release announcing the extension of the ban, the city emphasized the dangers of sky lanterns, which are made of paper and lit with an open flame to be released into the sky like a hot air balloon. On July 5, Facebook user Jon Chinn posted a photo of a partially burnt sky lantern he found in his backyard to the Terrace Community Bulletin Board Facebook page.
“These lanterns can pose serious risk to their surrounding landscape when released and have reportedly caused structure fires and wildfires around the world,” the release stated.
“The Terrace Fire Department reminds residents that sky lanterns are prohibited under the burn ban and that there are serious repercussions including fines and jail time for anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition.”
Also prohibited are fireworks, tiki torches, chimineas, binary exploding targets, burn barrels and air certain burners.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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