Spring is wildfire season; use caution and recognize responsibilities

We are now weeks into spring and already the threat of forest and grassland wildfires has risen considerably and we all need to exercise caution and pay attention to these threats when we are outdoors.

Grass and timber are extremely dry this time of year, and the winds drying out the soil make our region incredibly vulnerable to a large fire from just the smallest spark or cigarette butt thrown out of a car window.

It is a fact that almost all fires that happen this time of year are caused by humans, most of which can be preventable and stopped if the right preventions are taken.

If you are outdoors on an ATV or off-road vehicle, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of materials at all time and try to stay off of trails with heavy brush or unmarked trails.

If you are camping, be sure to check if campfires are permitted in the first place, that your site is completely clear of flammable debris and that the fire is completely extinguished using water and dirt before you go to bed.

When conducting a controlled burn on your property, be sure to visit the Wildlife Management Branch site at www.bcwildfire.ca/prevention following the steps listed on the site so that fires are well under control preventing the spread and damage of fires.

The Wildfire Act specifies your responsibility when using fire within one kilometer of forest or grassland.

If the fire escapes, you may be held responsible and accountable for damage and costs associated with suppressing the fire.

We all want to ensure that we can get out in the backcountry and enjoy the beautiful weather this season, but small precautions can prevent fires from starting in the first place.

Keep a lookout for fire or smoke in the Cariboo by calling 1-800-663-5555 or dial *5555 on your cell.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.


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