Coastal Fire Centre rescinds burning prohibitions

Open fires will be permitted throughout the region, including Powell River

Effective at noon on September 25, all open fires will again be permitted throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, which includes the Powell River region.

A media release from the Coastal Fire Centre states that although recent rainfall has reduced the wildfire risk in the region, members of the public are urged to undertake any open burning responsibly to reduce the likelihood of starting a wildfire. BC Wildfire Service has protocols in place to allow its staff to safely respond to wildfires while also reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

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According to the media release, this rescinding of open burning prohibitions means campfires, category two open fires, category three open fires and resource management burns will be permitted everywhere within the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. However, local governments may still have burning restrictions in place, so people should check with local authorities before lighting any fire of any size. 

The following fire-related activities will also be allowed as of noon on September 25:

·      The use of burning barrels and burning cages

·      The use of air curtain burners

·      The use of binary exploding targets

·      The use of sky lanterns

·      The use of fireworks (these are regulated by bylaw in the City of Powell River)

Anyone lighting a category three fire must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1.888.797.1717. A category three fire is a fire that burns material more than two metres high or three metres wide, stubble or grass in an area more than 2,000 square metres, or three or more piles burning at the same time, according to the release. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at

Anyone who lights a fire must comply with BC’s air quality control legislation, the release stated. The BC Wildfire Service also urges people to take the following precautions with any permitted outdoor burning.

Ensure enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and stop it from escaping.

Do not burn in windy conditions. The weather can change quickly, and wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires. 

Create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.

Never leave a fire unattended.

Make sure the fire is fully extinguished and ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. 

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $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, as well as the value of resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.

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