SMITHERS, BC: Given the recent mild and dry weather conditions in the Northwest Fire Centre, the BC Wildfire Service encourages members of the public and industry personnel to exercise caution when doing any outdoor burning.
To help reduce the number of preventable wildfires, people wanting to light an open fire must watch for changing weather conditions and follow all burning regulations. They should also take the following precautions:
- Ensure that enough resources are on hand to control the fire and prevent it escaping.
- Do not burn during 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.
- Consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter of the main fire site before lighting the main fire. This will create a fuel break and help prevent the fire spreading beyond its intended size.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure the fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Anyone planning to do large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn larger than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires) must obtain a burn registration number at no charge ahead of time by calling 1 888 797-1717. Burn registration numbers are entered in the Open Fire Tracking System, which allows the BC Wildfire Service to track open burning activity throughout B.C.
Anyone conducting an open burn must check local venting conditions before lighting any fire. If the venting conditions in the area are rated “poor” or “fair,” Category 2 or Category 3 open burning is restricted. The venting index can be obtained by calling 1 888 281-2992 and is available online: www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/epdpa/venting/venting.html
Anyone conducting an open burn must comply with the Wildfire Act and air quality control legislation. If an open burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs. It is the responsibility of that individual to ensure burning is done in a safe manner and in accordance with regulations and any current burning restrictions.
The Northwest Fire Centre urges the public to report smoke rising within the perimeter of any of the 2018 wildfire sites. An overwintering fire, sometimes called a holdover fire, can occur when a wildfire that burned deep underground last year has continued to smoulder all winter. Most overwintering fires will occur well within the original fire’s perimeter.
Written and released by BC Government.