Effective at noon on April 16, 2020 most open burning activities will be prohibited throughout B.C. to reduce the likelihood of human-caused wildfires.
The rules are twofold, to reduce the risk of human caused wildfires, and to keep air free of smoke as the province deals with the impact of COVID-19.
The Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre says open burning prohibitions should also decrease the number of false alarms where firefighters respond to a report of smoke, only to find the smoke is coming from a controlled burn and not from a wildfire.
Category 2 and Category 3 fires won’t be allowed, but campfires are still acceptable as long as they stay within the range of 1 half metre wide and 1 half meter tall.
Category 2 fires are described as 2 metres tall and 3 metres wide. Also prohibited are resource management open fires, fireworks, sky lanterns and the use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size.
The BC Wildfire service says anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150. Serious offences could result in an administrative penalty of $10,000, or if convicted in court, a fine of up to $100,000 – $1 million and one year of jail time.
If an illegal fire sparks a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.