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BC rescinds campfire bans for most of the Coastal Fire Centre

Ban remains in effect for South Island Natural Resource District
The ban on campfires is being lifted for most of the Coastal Fire Centre starting Sept. 3, with the exception of south Vancouver Island (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file).

Those wanting to roast marshmallows over the Labour Day Weekend in parts of Vancouver Island and the South Coast will be able to do so over a real campfire.

Starting Sept. 3 at noon PST, campfires will be allowed in most areas of the Coastal Fire Centre, which includes Vancouver Island and the southern coastal mainland, the BC Wildfire Service announced today. Tiki and similar kinds of torches, chimineas, and outdoor stoves or other portable campfire apparatus without a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriter Laboratories of Canada (ULC) rating may also be used.

However, campfires and other burnings will still be prohibited in the South Island Natural Resource District. This area encompasses much of southern Vancouver Island, extending from Victoria to Union Bay on the east coast ((including Denman, Hornby, Lasqueti, Gabriola, Salt Spring, Pender and other smaller Gulf Islands), and from Victoria to Nootka Sound on the west coast. The population centres still under the ban include Victoria, Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum on the East Coast and Sooke, Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and Bamfield on the West Coast. Campers in these areas will have to make their s’mores over stoves with CSA or ULC ratings only.

Some municipalities, including Campbell River, are maintaining ongoing open fire bans. Other authorities, such as BC Parks, may also have bans in effect.

While fire risk has declined in the region because of recent rainfall and cooler temperatures, members of the public are being urged to be vigilant and ensure their activities do not result in any new fires over the Labour Day long weekend.

“Our wildfire crews still have significant work ahead of them to bring existing wildfires under control as they work to keep British Columbians safe,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a release. “Let’s not add human-caused fires to their workload during this long and challenging fire season.”

Campfires are defined as fires equal to or smaller than 0.5 metres wide by 0.5 metres high. Larger Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, which includes the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels and burn cages, remain prohibited throughout British Columbia. These restrictions will remain in effect until Oct. 15, 2021, or until the order is rescinded.

To enjoy safe campfires avoid lighting fires in windy conditions, maintain a fire guard around the campfire, never leave a campfire unattended, and have a way to extinguish the fire on hand, such as a shovel or at least eight litres of water. Before leaving a fire, ensure ashes are cool to the touch.

A violation of an open-burning prohibition may result in a $1,150 ticket, an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or upon conviction in court, up to a $100,000 and/or one-year jail sentence. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

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