Cariboo Fire Centre officers urging extreme caution

Due to hot weather and in an effort to prevent human-related fires, the Cariboo Fire Centre is urging extreme caution.

“The fire danger ratings across the Cariboo Fire Centre are currently high to extreme, with the exception of a small pocket of moderate fire danger rating in the far north of the fire centre,” fire information officer Natasha Brosnitsky said.

“This week, the weather is forecasted to be hot, dry and windy at times. There is also a possibility of lightning later in the week and on the weekend. The Cariboo Fire Centre is preparing for the possibility of increased lightning-caused fires.

“We are urging that extreme caution be taken when spending time outdoors or having a campfire, which are allowed in some areas. Campfires are allowed in the Quesnel Forest District, 100 Mile Forest District and in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Forest District east of the Fraser River only. Campfires are prohibited in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Resource District west of the Fraser River and throughout Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park. Given the current weather trend, we may implement campfire bans in other areas of the Cariboo Fire Centre this summer.”

The centre reminds residents category two and three open burns are already prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre. Specifically, these prohibited activities include:

• the burning of any waste, slash or other materials.

• stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.

• the use of fireworks.

• the use of sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description.

• the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for target practice).

Effective immediately the use of air curtain burners (forced-air burning systems) will also be prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre.

Fire information officers said the prohibitions do not apply to “cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.”

From April 1 through June 27, 2017, the BC Wildfire Service responded to 237 wildfires in B.C., 165 of which were caused by people. Human-caused fires are completely preventable and unnecessarily tie up crucial firefighting resources that could be used to deal with naturally occurring wildfires.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

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