Castlegar and area fire ban starts Friday

Effective at noon on Friday all open fires are prohibited within the Southeast Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires.

  • Jul. 9, 2012 4:00 p.m.

It seemed like only a few days ago we had nothing but torrential rainfall in the Castlegar area. However, with hot weather taking over, the Southeast Fire Centre has issued a fire ban for the area.

Effective at noon on Friday, July 13, 2012, all open fires are prohibited within the Southeast Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. The prohibition will remain in place until Sept. 19, or until the public is otherwise notified.

Specifically, this prohibits:

· The burning of any waste, slash or other material.

· The burning of stubble or grass.

· The use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description.

This prohibition does not include campfires, gas or propane cooking stoves or briquettes. This prohibition also does not apply to a resource management open fire, including those conducted for agricultural purposes by the Creston Valley Grain Growers Association.

Campfires must not be larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres in size. People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

Campfires should not be lit or kept burning during windy conditions. Never leave a fire unattended. Make sure that the fire is completely extinguished and the embers are cold before leaving the area.

This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department. Please check with civic authorities for any prohibitions before lighting a fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. Anyone who causes a wildfire through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend three years in prison and be held accountable for associated firefighting costs.

Crews from the Southeast Fire Centre have responded to 21 wildfires since April 1 (20 caused by humans and one caused by lightning), which have burned a total of 290 hectares.

The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses an area extending from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. This includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain districts.

Report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling *5555 on your cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning prohibitions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcforestfireinfo.gov.bc.ca