Kamloops and the surrounding area has had the driest spring in 120 years, and province-wide more than 90 per cent of the wildfires so far this year have been human-caused. If current trends continue, the B.C. Wildfire Service says the southern part of the province can expect an above average fire season later this year.
In order to prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety, as of noon on Friday, June 11, Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, as well as other equipment and activities, are prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. The prohibition will remain in place until Oct. 15, or until the order is rescinded. A map of the affected area is available at http://ow.ly/y4zk30rJR6p.
In addition to the ban on Category 2 and 3 open fires, the order prohibits fireworks, sky lanterns, and burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description, except when used for a campfire.
These prohibitions apply to all public and private land within the Kamloops Fire Centre jurisdiction, unless specified otherwise in a local government bylaw. Before lighting any fire, people should check with local government authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in effect.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced 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.
This prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a high-metre wide or smaller (unless they are banned by a local government bylaw), and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane, or briquettes.
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5.