To reduce wildfire risk and increase safety, BC Wildfire Service has expanded its prohibition of Category 2 open burns throughout the Prince George Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.
The ban on Category 2 open burns was implemented in the Stuart Nechako Forest District and Prince George Forest District on May 8. And as of May 23, the prohibition has been extended to all of the Prince George Fire Centre jurisdiction.
As per the BC Wildfire Service website, the Prince George Fire Centre includes the north of the Interior Plateau and the Omineca Mountains to the north, sections of the Rocky Mountain Trench and Peach Liard country to the east and part of the Cariboo range to the south.
Molly Blower, information officer at the Prince George Fire Centre said the prohibition is on burning of any materials which are piled or unpiled and smaller than two metres high and three metres wide.
Stubble or grass fires over an area smaller than 2,000 square metres is also prohibited, she said.
There are currently no campfire bans or forest use restrictions in effect for the Prince George Fire Centre.
Warm weather is forecasted for next week and Blower said, “There is a ridge persisting next week that will bring hot and dry weather as well as a lot of sun. There is a little bit of lightning expected in our region so that is why we want to keep our resources on the naturally occurring fires, rather than having to use those resources on human caused fires.”
This prohibition however, does not apply to Category 3 open fires. Anyone lighting a Category 3 fire must obtain a burn registration number first by calling 1 888 797-1717.
As per BC Wildfire Service, a Category 3 open fire is one that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide; three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than 2 metres high by 3 metres wide; 1 or more burning windrows; and stubble or grass burning over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.
Anyone who lights a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area. While having a campfire, the person responsible also needs to have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.
The Category 2 prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise.
Currently there is one wildfire in the Prince George Fire Centre jurisdiction approximately 150 kms southeast of Fort Nelson and 25 kms west of the Alberta border, Blower said, noting firefighters are on the scene and the wildfire is reacting well to suppression efforts.
Anyone who is found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket of $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 met be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation call 1 800 663-5255 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions and road closures and air quality advisories go to www.bcwildfire.ca