Provincial government bans open fires and fireworks

As of noon today, all fireworks and open fires will be banned on the B.C. Coast for the rest of the summer.

All fireworks and open fires will be banned on the B.C. Coast for the rest of the summer.

Effective today (July 20) at noon, a Category 2 open fire and fireworks prohibition will be expanded to include all areas within the Coastal Fire Centre except Haida Gwaii.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including South Tweedsmuir Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, all of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

This prohibition is intended to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety, according to a news release from the provincial forestry ministry.

The ban will remain in place until Sept. 15 or until the public is otherwise notified.

The prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department.

Specifically, this ban prohibits the burning of any waste, slash or other material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres in height by three metres in width; the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 2,000 square metres;  and the use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description.

The ban does not prohibit campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, and it does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

Category 3 open burning, used for resource management reasons, is still allowed. However, anyone conducting this type of open burning may only conduct one burn at a time and must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1-888-797-1717.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire ban may be fined $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

More information about open burning regulations and fire prohibitions can be found online.