A firefighter at the scene of the Cougar Creek fire at Nahatlatch Provincial Park

New penalties eyed for careless fire starts

Province considers barring people from provincial campgrounds for campfire violations, seizing vehicles of careless smokers

The B.C. government is reviewing its penalties for those who start forest fires with campfires or discarded cigarette butts, as losses pile up from a severe early fire season.

Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris has been assigned to the review, as the province’s forest fire crews continue to work flat-out to keep up with lightning-caused fires and those caused by human carelessness. Morris said he will examine what new penalties can be effectively enforced.

“For example, should we be banning those who break fire bans from attending our provincial parks?” Morris said. “Should we look at larger fines up to and including possibly of the impoundment of vehicles for those who flick lit cigarette butts out of their windows?”

One tree faller has been killed this season as the B.C. Wildfire Service continues to work against 175 active wildfires, down from 200 since the start of the week due to cooler weather and showers. The service has tackled more than 1,000 forest fires so far this year, about a third of them human caused.

“There are some who have suggested you can’t legislate against stupidity,” Forests Minister Steve Thomson said. “But if exploring the idea of increasing fines or acting on ideas that mean more people will get the message, I think we should be prepared to have a look at it.”

Witnesses can report careless smokers or breaches of the province-wide outdoor fire ban with the same phone numbers as to report wildfires, 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a mobile phone.

Of the 14 new fires Monday, two are suspected to have been human-caused. About 375 of this season’s fires are listed as human-caused, burning 44,000 hectares.

Most new forest fire starts this week have been from lightning storms in the Kootenay region, but most were accompanied by rain and no large new fires have been added.

States of local emergency continue in the Cariboo, Squamish-Lillooet and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districts as of Tuesday.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New Aiyansh stun Hydaburg to claim first ever All Native Masters Division title

Buzzer beating three pointer by Rich Wolff caps wild comeback; Justin Adams chosen as MVP

CMTN’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art holds annual exhibit

Artwork will be showcased until Feb. 29 at the Terrace Art Gallery

Wet’suwet’en return to camps near Houston, Coastal GasLink workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Northern Health recommends self-quarantine for people returning from Hubei

The healthcare provider said it isn’t neccessary for healthy children to wear face masks

Caledonia’s senior girls’ basketball team heads to provincials

Kermodes will be competing in Langley, B.C.

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Most Read