Courtesy of the BC Wildfire Branch:
The BC Wildfire Service is urging the public to adhere to all open burning regulations and be more diligent with their campfire use.
Over the last two weeks, several abandoned campfires were discovered within the Cariboo Fire Centre's jurisdiction.
Anyone lighting or fuelling a campfire must fully extinguish it and ensure that the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the site for any length of time. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine.
Temperatures in the Cariboo Fire Centre are expected to cool over the next few days, but little rain is expected and unpredictable, gusty winds are in the forecast. When a campfire causes a wildfire, it is often due to wind blowing sparks or embers into nearby forest fuels. Keeping a close eye on your campfire at all times is crucial to stop it sparking a wildfire.
In 2015, three wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre were caused by abandoned campfires. So far this year, one wildfire was started by a campfire. With hunting and fishing season upon us, the recent spike in abandoned campfires is concerning. One human-caused wildfire is one too many, since human-caused fires divert valuable firefighting resources from naturally occurring wildfires.
Campfires and Category 2 open fires are currently allowed in the Cariboo Fire Centre, but Category 3 open fires remain prohibited. A poster explaining the different categories of fires is available online at: http://ow.ly/jdO5301kS32
The BC Wildfire Service continuously evaluates the need for open fire restrictions, based on weather conditions, dryness of forest fuels and the level of compliance with burning regulations - including the responsible use of campfires.
The Cariboo Fire Centre is asking for the public's assistance in reporting any abandoned or unattended campfires. To report an abandoned campfire, wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone. Whenever possible, the person submitting the report should include the location of the campfire and any information that could help identify the person responsible, such as a license plate number or a vehicle description.
Here are some important campfire safety tips:
* Have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available to properly extinguish your campfire.
* Campfires can not be larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.
* Do not light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
* Maintain a fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
* Never leave a campfire unattended.
* Ensure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cool to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Natural resource officers and conservation officers conduct regular patrols throughout British Columbia, including looking out for campfire-related infractions. Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $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.
For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, conditions and prohibitions, call 1 888 3-FOREST (1 888 336-7378) or visit: bcwildfire.ca