Wildfire burns on Snake Hill near Kitwanga. (Screen capture/Jacob Beaton video/Facebook)

Wildfire burns on Snake Hill near Kitwanga. (Screen capture/Jacob Beaton video/Facebook)

Wildfire service rescinds open fire ban

Category 2 and 3 fires permitted throughout Northwest Fire Centre effective immediately

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) has rescinded a ban on Category 2 and 3 fires for areas of the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC) that went into effect April 15.

“Recent precipitation and higher relative humidities allows for open fires to resume throughout the Bulkley and Nadina Fire Zones,” the BCWS said in a bulletin this afternoon (April 26). “Conditions will continue to be closely monitored and if a spike in human-caused wildfires takes place, prohibitions will be implemented on short notice.”

The ban also affected the Old Kalum District in the Skeena Fire Zone, but was rescinded for that area previously.

Last week New Hazelton police charged a man with starting a wildfire that burned out of control for several days on the Gitwangak reserve near Kitwanga.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest man in connection with Kitwanga wildfire

“The public is strongly encouraged to exercise caution with any outdoor burning and campfire use,” the release stated. “It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that burning is done in a safe and responsible manner in accordance with regulations. Before lighting any fire, check with local government authorities to see if any local burning restrictions are in place.”

Violaters could be found responsible for the government’s fire control costs and any related damages to Crown resources. In addition, administrative penalties can run up to $100,000 for transgressions of regulations in the Wildfire Act and Regulation.

The service advises anyone planning a Category 2 fire (one of two piles not exceeding two metres high by three metres wide) to check the Ventilation Index and the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations.

Persons wanting to light a Category 3 fire must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717.

Category 3 fires include: fires larger than two-meters high by three-metres wide; three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two-metres high by three-metres wide; one or more burning windrows; and stubble or grass burns covering an area greater than 0.2 hectares.

The Northwest Fire Centre, headquartered in Smithers, extends from just east of Endako to Haida Gwaii in the west and from Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the south to the Yukon border.


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