Open fire ban for northeast B.C. in effect Friday

A Category 2 open fire ban for northeast B.C. takes effect Friday at noon.

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A pile of sticks and branches burning.
A pile burn. (BC Wildfire Service, Website)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A Category 2 open fire ban for northeast B.C. takes effect Friday at noon.

The Prince George Fire Centre says the ban will remain in place until noon on June 2nd or until the order is rescinded.

After multiple wildfires sparked in the region this week, many residents were concerned that a fire ban was not yet implemented. The fire centre says since the prohibition is considered law, a process has to be conducted to issue a ban that is not immediate.

According to the fire centre, the ban is due to the high grass fire hazard and increased incidence of human-caused wildfires associated with Category 2 burning. Most of the wildfires over the past week in the Peace region are believed to be human-caused.

Category 2 fires refer to fires in a pile exceeding two metres in height and three metres in width and stubble or grass over an area that doesn’t exceed 0.2 hectares.

The prohibition does not apply to campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide (or smaller), cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or registered Category 3 burns.

According to the centre, the following activities and use of the following equipment, materials and substances also remain prohibited:

  • Category 2 open fires
  • Fireworks
  • Sky Lanterns
  • Burn Barrels or Burn Cages of any size or description
  • Binary exploding targets
  • Air Curtain Burners

The fire danger rating in Fort St. John is “high,” according to the province. This means “forest fuels are very dry, and the fire risk is serious. In northeast B.C., the fire danger rating ranges from “low” to “high, with the majority of the region being listed as “moderate.”

Prohibitions apply to all public and private lands unless otherwise specified, such as a local government bylaw.

Anyone conducting open burns during a ban could face a $1,150 ticket, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to a year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

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