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Upcoming campfire ban includes City of Powell River, qathet Regional District

As of August 4, open fires will not be permitted per Coastal Fire Centre
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REDUCE RISK: As of noon on Thursday, August 4, there will be a campfire ban in place in all areas of the Coastal Fire Centre, with exception of Haida Gwaii forest district. City of Powell River and qathet Regional District will be following the provincial regulations, which have put a ban on campfires until October 27. Contributed graphic

Effective at noon on August 4, campfires will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, except the Haida Gwaii forest district. This prohibition is being enacted to help reduce wildfire risk and protect public safety.

According to a media release from the Coastal Fire Centre, this prohibition covers all BC parks, crown lands and private lands within the region, unless specified otherwise, such as in a local government bylaw. 

The prohibition does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has wildfire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department, the release stated. However, Coastal Fire Centre asks the public to check with local government authorities to ensure they are following local bylaws before lighting any fire.

City of Powell River fire chief Terry Peters said the city will be following the provincial prohibition, and that campfires will be banned as of noon on August 4 in city limits.

“Because of this ban we will be shutting down Willingdon Beach,” added Peters. “With the city’s burning bylaw, people can’t burn in the city at any time unless it’s April or November and they have a residential burning permit. The only exception is at Willingdon Beach Campsite, but when there is a provincial ban, such as what has just happened, we will be shutting down and there will be absolutely zero burning in the city.”

qathet Regional District regional emergency program coordinator Ryan Thoms said the regional district will be following the campfire ban, also. He said a campfire ban has already been in place on Savary Island.

“We knew it was coming,” said Thoms. “In terms of the rural areas, the Wildfire Act is the law, so this will mean that all of the rural areas will have a campfire ban.”

People wanting to find out more about city burning regulations can go to powellriver.ca and under bylaws, look for Backyard Burning Bylaw 1931.

This prohibition will be in place until October 28, or until the order is rescinded.

The release stated that with the enactment of this prohibition, no campfires (except Haida Gwaii); category two, or category three open fires are allowed within the Coastal Fire Centre. The category two and three prohibition, which includes backyard and industrial burning, was enacted on July 15. Also prohibited in all areas of the Coastal Fire Centre are the following activities: fireworks; sky lanterns; binary exploding targets; burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description; and air curtain burners.

The release stated that the campfire prohibition does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes or portable campfire devices that use briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, provided they are CSA or ULC approved, and the height of the flame is fewer than 15 centimetres.

A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online: openburningregs_2022update.pdf.

Anyone who lights, fuels or uses an open fire when a fire prohibition is in place or fails to comply with an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150 or, if convicted in court, 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 subject to a penalty of up to $100,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, call 1.800.663.5555 toll-free, or *5555 on a cell phone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to bcwildfire.ca.

To learn more, follow the latest wildfire news: on the free BC wildfire service public mobile app, available for Apple (iOS) and Android devices; on Twitter: twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo; on Facebook: facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo.

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