Government urges wildfire safety on Canada Day long weekend

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The government is reminding those having fires to use caution to ensure no human-made fires are created this Canada Day long weekend.

Campfires are permitted in all 6 of the province’s fire centres, but category 2 and category 3 are banned in many parts of BC to help reduce any risk of wildfires as well as protect public safety.

Current burning restrictions can be found here.

Local governments may also have their own burning restrictions in place. The government is reminding everyone to check with local authorities before you light a fire of any size. The use of fireworks is also banned in many parts of BC.

This season, there has already been 427 wildfires reported. 288 of those were human-caused. The government says human-caused fires are very preventable and unnecessary. They say it takes away from resources that could be being used to fight wildfires that occurred naturally.

The government has these tips to help reduce the risk of a wildfire:

  • Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
  • Campfires can not be larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.
  • Do not light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
  • Maintain a one-metre fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Make sure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson says there are a few main rules before you walk away from your campfire to remember.

“Anyone planning to go camping or head into the backcountry this weekend must be extremely careful with any use of open fire. Campfires must be completely extinguished and the ashes must be cold to the touch before you leave the area.”