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No smoking in Coquitlam parks — or risk a $500 fine

This includes cannabis and e-cigarettes as the city has ramped up its patrols for the summer in hopes of avoiding potential fires.
Smoking is banned in Coquitlam parks, and the city has ramped up patrols to curb potential fires this summer.

The risk of fires in forested and wooded areas has heightened in the Tri-Cities amid the first stint of summer weather.

In Coquitlam, the city is sending out more bylaw enforcement officers in local parks this summer as a smoker caught lighting up in a public park could end up burning a $500 hole in their pocket.

In a release, spokesperson Aaron Hilgerdenaar explains the fine is increased between June 1 and Sept. 30 due to the greater risk of fires.

He says officers will be out daily on foot and e-bike looking for offenders, as well as educating the public on the dangers of lighting up in green spaces.

This includes any form of smoking, including cannabis and e-cigarettes, as well as open fires — all of which are banned from Coquitlam parks. 

As well, a person could be fined an additional $150 if caught littering a cigarette butt.

As of this publication (June 28), Coquitlam's current fire risk is low, but residents and visitors are being encouraged to take all precautions to reduce the possibility of a blaze.

Prevention tips include:

  • Do not have any open fires or conduct outdoor burning
  • Watch for bans on using barbeques
  • Relocate combustible debris or firewood at least 10 metres away from your home
  • Be aware when mowing your lawn that if the blade comes into contact with a rock, it can cause a spark that may ignite a fire
  • Ensure your vehicle's exhaust does not emit onto a dry lawn
  • Reduce the amount of debris around your homes; prune your shrubs, remove dead and dry vegetation and tree limbs 2-3 metres from the ground
  • Reduce the chance of fire spreading to your home by breaking up vegetation and tree canopies so they don’t create a line leading to your home
  • Keep the roof and gutters clear of dead needles; prune branches that hang over the roof

Residents to see signs of smoke or a fire in their community are urged to call 911.

For more information, you can visit the summer fire safety page of the city of Coquitlam's website.