With the onset of hot summer weather, BC Wildfire Service prohibits Category 2 & 3 fires

Burning slash piles, burn barrels and fireworks are banned as part of BC Wildfire Service Category 2 & 3 restrictions

by Julie Matchett
Slash pile burning in forest.

With the onset of hot summer weather, the BC Wildfire Service has prohibited Category 2 & 3 fires across the Southeast Fire Centre region. — Photo courtesy BC Wildfire Service Facebook page

After a cool and rainy start to the season, summer has finally arrived in the Kootenays and along with warmer temperatures comes an increased risk for forest fires.

Effective at noon (Pacific time) on Friday, July 24 both Category 2 and Category 3 fires will be prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. The Southeast Fire Centre extends 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.

The BC Wildfire Service is implementing this ban to help prevent human caused wildfires and to protect public safety. The prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a half- metre wide or smaller, nor does it apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. 

Category 2 open burn restrictions include the following activities:

  • The burning of any waste, slash or other materials
  • Open fires larger than a half-metre wide by a half-metre high
  • Stubble or grass fires of any size
  • The use of sky lanterns, fireworks (including firecrackers), binary exploding targets
  • The use of burn barrels

Category 3 open burn restrictions include the following:

  • any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide
  • three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide
  • burning of one or more windrows

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $100,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to up to one 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, as well as the value of the resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.

With plenty of sunshine and heat in the long-range forecast, the BC Wildfire Service reminds people to be responsible when outdoors in nature. Never burn in strong wind conditions, never leave a fire unattended and ensure that your fire is completely out and cold to the touch before leaving the area.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

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