Coast Fire Centre imposes fire bans for most of Island

North Cowichan exempt from fire ban that went into effect in North Oyster, Ladysmith and Saltair Thursday, August 1.

Hot, dry weather and a looming risk of thunderstorms prompted the Coastal Fire Centre (CFC) to impose a fire ban for much of Vancouver Island and the South Coast, but not all Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) member municipalities have followed suit.

The CFC imposed the ban Aug. 1, at noon and according to a press release issued by the CFC July 31, the ban applies to “all open fires, including campfires” in the CFC’s coverage region — Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and the southern half of coastal mainland B.C. — save for the “Fog Zone” on Vancouver Island’s west coast and Haida Gwaii.

Communities serviced by their own fire departments are not subject to the fire ban, but Ladysmith Fire Chief Ray Delcourt said Ladysmith routinely follows suit, imposing fire bans within Town limits that conform to the CFC’s scheduled restrictions.

A fire ban is now in place for Ladysmith and will remain in effect until the CFC lifts its ban, Delcourt said.

That same ban applies to the North Oyster fire protection district, but the Municipality of North Cowichan, meanwhile, has decided not to impose a ban, Chemainus Fire Chief Neil Rukus said.

Rukus confirmed that while Saltair is serviced by a North Cowichan fire hall — Chemainus’ — the CFC ban is now in effect in Saltair, too.

Danger ratings of “high” to “extreme” led the CFC to impose the ban in order to “prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.”

Prohibited are “open fires of any size, fires with a burn registration number, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels.”

The Ladysmith Days “Fireworks Spectacular” was granted an exemption from the ban, Delcourt confirmed.

CSA- or ULC-approved portable stoves burning briquettes, liquid fuel or pressurized fuel are exempt from the ban, provided the flames they produce are less than 15 centimetres tall.

The prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 15 or until the CFC rescinds the ban.