BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) is restricting certain burning activities in the Coastal Fire Centre as of noon today (July 15).
Until Oct. 28, or whenever the order is rescinded, local residents will not be able to burn Category 2 and 3 fires as the threat of wildfires has increased across its jurisdiction.
The region includes each municipality in the Tri-Cities — Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra — as nearly 5,000 properties are said to border wildland-urban interfaces.
According to the BCWS, roughly 40 per cent of B.C. wildfires each year are human-caused "and therefore preventable."
In a release, the provincial agency says the ban is also to protect public safety, and applies to all public and private lands.
A $1,150 fine may be issued to those found in violation of the order, while others may be handed more expensive tickets, including as high as $100,000, or even jail time if the incident is more severe.
This includes causing or contributing to a wildfire and that person may also be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs, the BCWS explains.
Now, the Category 2 and 3 open-burning prohibition does not apply to all campfires.
But there are specifics you need to follow in order to roast a marshmallow or hot dog throughout the summer.
During the ban, the BCWS explains campfires can burn up to at a half-metre high by a half-metre wide, or to cook stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.
There must be a fireguard around the blaze, flammable debris must be removed from the area and there must be at least eight litres of water nearby to extinguish the flames.
When finish, experts advise ashes around the campfire "must be cool to the touch" before leaving the site.
So, what can't I burn?
The latest burning ban applies to all other forms of Category 2 and 3 fires, as outlined by the BCWS.
For Category 2, this includes an open fire that burns:
- Material in one pile not exceeding two metres high and three metres wide
- Material concurrently in two piles each not exceeding two metres high and three metres wide
- Stubble or grass over an area that does not exceed 0.2 hectares
For Category 3, this includes an open fire that burns:
- Material concurrently in three or more piles each not exceeding two metres high and three metres wide
- Material in one or more piles each exceeding two metres high and three metres wide
- One or more windrows
- Stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 hectares
As well, local residents can not light up fireworks during the ban, as well as sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels or burn cages of any size, and air curtain burners.
For more information, you can visit the Coastal Fire Centre's page on the BC Wildfire Service website.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, you're urged to call the service's toll-free line at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.