While campfires are permitted, an open category 2, 3 fire ban remains in effect across the Cariboo Fire Centre. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Category 2, 3 open fire ban remains in effect for Cariboo Fire Centre, campfires still allowed

The bans went into place earlier this spring to minimize human-caused wildfires

Heading into the long weekend the Cariboo Fire Centre is reminding the public of existing fire bans, although camp fires are still permitted.

“There is a prohibition of resource management open fires, category 2 and 3 open fire and named section 12 activities across the province,” said communications specialist Jessica Mack.

The bans went into place earlier this spring to minimize human-caused wildfires and to protect the health and safety of BC Wildfire Service staff from the potential of unnecessary risk and exposure to COVID-19.

It will also help reduce the impact of wildfire smoke on air quality and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.

Read more: BC Wildfire Service makes changes in response to COVID-19

Mack said anyone who chooses to burn anything larger than a campfire which is 0.5 by .5 metres or utilize the restricted activities will be burning in contravention.

“For example, if there is a report of smoke that is caused by someone burning in contravention, we will have sent our staff to investigate the report and in doing so, unnecessarily put them at risk of being exposed during this pandemic,” Mack said. “Human-caused fires are preventable and take away staff from responding to naturally caused wildfires.”

By responding to less human-caused fires and smoke reports, the BC Wildfire Service is able to maintain the health of the workforce so that they are able to respond to fires as we get later into the season where there is an elevated fire risk.

“Every time that a member of our staff is required to go into the field they are at an increased risk of expose and we urge everyone to follow the current prohibition to keep our first responders and the public safe,” Mack said.

In the Cariboo region there are no new fires as of Friday, May 15. To date there have been 22 fires burning 44 hectares.

The BC Wildfire Service introduced a new app this year available for Apple (IOS) and Android devices and is free to download in the App Store and Google Play. The app requires the user to have mobile data capability or a Wi-Fi connection. Location services are also required when using the “Near Me” function.

In Williams Lake fire restrictions remain in place, which means residents cannot start or maintain an open-air fire within city limits.

There are exceptions, however, including factory-made fire pits that meet the requirements of Schedule F included in the City’s burning bylaw.

Some of these requirements include the pit being located at least 20 feet from any property line or building, 10 feet from any shrubbery or dry grass and be lit only with an immediate source of water, like a garden hose, nearby.


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