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Update: Category Three open fires banned for Cariboo effective May 16 at noon
Effective at noon on Friday, May 16, Category three open fires will be prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.
The prohibition will be in place until Sept. 30, or until the public is otherwise notified.
Specifically, this order prohibits fires that burn:
* Material concurrently in three or more piles, each not exceeding two metres in height and three metres in width; or
* Material in one or more piles, each exceeding two metres in height or three metres in width; or
* One or more windrows; or
* Stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 hectares (more than 2,000 square metres).
This prohibition does not apply to campfires, cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or open fires that are two metres by three metres or smaller.
People should ensure that such fires are not lit or kept burning during windy conditions and that adequate tools, water and people are on hand to contain the fire. They should also make sure that the fire is fully extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
This prohibition covers all BC Parks and Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by fire departments.
Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting a fire.
Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, may 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.
The Cariboo Fire Centre stretches from Loon Lake near Clinton north to the Cottonwood River near Quesnel, east to Wells Gray Provincial Park and west to Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park.
As of Tuesday there were no fire prohibitions in place within the Cariboo Fire Centre.
“However, we do monitor weather and fuel conditions closely, and should there be an increased risk of human-caused wildfire starts, we will implement bans accordingly,” fire information officer Navi Saini said.
If someone is planning to burn in an area that is serviced by a fire department, the centre recommends they check with local authorities first because they may have their own regulations in place.
In the Cariboo Fire Centre region there are currently four actively burning fires.
So far this season, the Cariboo Fire Centre has responded to 44 fires, the vast majority of which were human-caused and therefore completely preventable, Saini said.
The region is sitting at a low to moderate danger rating, he added.
Meanwhile, effective noon on Thursday May 15, the size of open fires will be restricted in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect the public.
The prohibition applies to all areas of the Kamloops Fire Centre except the Clearwater Fire Zone and the Salmon Arm Fire Zone.
The Clearwater Fire Zone and the Salmon Arm Fire Zone will become subject to this prohibition on June 15, when all open burning will be prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre.
Anyone lighting Category 2 or 3 fires outside of those two zones must extinguish any such fires by noon on May 15. This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 15, or until further notice.