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Cariboo Fire Centre urging extreme caution when burning, strong winds in forecast

A new fire near Eagleview Road is classified as being held
Williams Lake Fire Department crews were on hand to keep a prescribed burn April 6 contained and extinguish any lingering flames once the work was complete. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Strong winds are forecasted to sweep across the Cariboo Fire Centre Thursday and Friday (April 7 and 8) and the BC Wildfire Service is urging members of the public and industry personnel to exercise extreme caution when conducting any outdoor burning and consider postponing burning until a calmer day.

The Cariboo Fire Centre said the area will see moderate to strong surface winds across the Cariboo Fire Centre Thursday afternoon. Winds will be 20 kilometres per hour with gusts up to 40 to 60 kilometres per hour. The winds are expected to remain moderate to strong through the night and Friday.

There are currently no open burning prohibitions in effect within the Cariboo Fire Centre, however, BCWS staff are monitoring the situation very closely.

“We strongly urge members of the public to wait for these windy conditions to pass prior to burning. With windy conditions a grass fire can spread very quickly. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that burning is done in a safe manner and is accordance with regulations,” the fire centre noted in a news release.

The notice comes just a few hours after a new fire was reported near Eagleview Road Thursday afternoon (April 7).

The B.C. Wildfire Dashboard notes that fire is new, suspected to be person-caused and is about 1.1 hectres in size.

Jessica Mack of the BC Wildfire Service confirmed BCWS personel are on site and that the status of the new fire is “being held.”

The CFC notes before lighting any fire, it is advised to monitor the upcoming weather forecast and check with your local governments to see if any local burning restrictions are in place.

Anyone conducting an outdoor burn must adhere to the following precautions:

*Ensure that adequate resources are on hand to control the fire and stop it from spreading;

*Never burn in windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly, and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires;

*Create an appropriately sized fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material, right down to the mineral soil;

*Never leave a fire unattended;

*Make sure that any fire is completely extinguished, and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time

Burn registration holders are encouraged to check on piles that were burned throughout the winter to ensure they are fully extinguished. There is always potential for winter burn piles to “holdover” until spring. What this means is that burn piles can and do burn deep and smoulder until the spring when warm weather and snow free conditions allow these smouldering fire to become active and turn into a wildfire.

A poster explaining the different categories of open burning and applicable regulations is available online:

Anyone wishing to light a Category 3 open fire must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717. A burn registration number is not required to light a Category 2 open fire.

For more information regarding the Ventilation Index and Open Burning and Smoke Control Regulations, please visit:

Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and divert critical resources away from lightning-caused fires. Always practice safe, responsible fire use where permitted.

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

*Check with your local government or other jurisdictional authorities before lighting a fire of any size since they may have their own restrictions in place.

*Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, may be 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.

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