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You could burn a $500 hole in your wallet if caught smoking in Coquitlam city parks

Daily patrols are getting ramped up in Coquitlam parks, green spaces and forested areas to mitigate potential risks, but they're also implemented to educate fire safety.
Smoking in a park. | File photo

Wildfire season is in full effect across B.C., but that's not just for the Okanagan and interior regions.

Tri-City communities like Coquitlam are considered "wildland-urban interface" areas, which means there's the possibility that a blaze could be sparked by weather or by humans.

If you're smoker in the city — which also includes cannabis and e-cigarettes — you're being strongly advised to consider where you're lighting a cigarette as smoking in a public park could result in a $500 fine if caught by bylaw officers.

In a statement, Coquitlam Fire Chief Jim Ogloff says it's ramping up its daily patrols to educate and mitigate as summer weather begins to dry out local grass in parks, green spaces and forested areas.

"With the fire risk currently rated as ‘high,’ the City is also ramping up its prevention measures," he explains, while also noting the fine for smoking in a city park goes up every summer due to the greater risk.

"City Bylaws patrols are already underway and now Fire/Rescue crews will also begin patrols of City parks and forested areas with the goal of identifying problem areas and reinforcing Coquitlam’s smoking and burning restrictions."

If caught improperly disposing a cigarette butt, you could get hit with a $150 fine.

Ogloff is asking residents and visitors to take all precautions to reduce the risk of a fire in the city, and cites the following prevention tips:

  • Do not litter cigarette butts
  • Do not have any open fires or conduct outdoor burning
  • Relocate flammable debris or firewood at least 10 metres (30 feet) away from your home
  • When mowing your lawn, be aware 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 opportunity for a fire to ignite by pruning your shrubs, removing dead and dry vegetation and ensuring tree limbs are at least 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 your roof and gutters clear of dead needles and 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.