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Wildfires can be destructive and catastrophic for natural habitats and the firefighters tasked with containing them.

Province-wide fire ban for B.C. as new forest fire blazes


Katie Jones
Digital Reporter

Friday, July 3, 2015, 12:17 PM -

After weeks of searing temperatures and parched conditions, British Columbia officials implemented a nearly province-wide fire ban late last week, as more than 50 active wildfires burn.

All open burning, including campfires and fireworks, remains prohibited throughout the majority of the province over the weekend.

"We're committed to safeguarding B.C.'s families, natural resources and infrastructure from wildfires," said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson in an official statement. "Given the hot and dry conditions in most of the province, we are implementing this province-wide campfire ban to help protect our communities."

A map showing where the fire ban is currently in place can be found HERE.


RELATED: Read how thick smoke helps, not hurts, the wildfire fight


The fire ban applies to the following:

  • Open fires of any size, including campfires
  • The use of fireworks, sky lanterns and tiki torches
  • Burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
  • The use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)
  • The use of air curtain burners (forced air-burning systems)

Gas, propane or briquette cooking stoves, as well as CSA-approved portable campfire systems with flames of 15 centimetres or less are still allowed, but the province says that could change if dry conditions persist over the coming days.

"Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, 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," reads the official statement on the ban from B.C. Wildfire Service. "If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs."

B.C. Wildfire officials are asking the public to report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

The "Fog Zone," a narrow two-kilometre strip along the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island, is exempt from the ban. A map of this area can be found HERE.

The ban comes in place as yet another forest fire begins to blaze in B.C. -- this time, just east of Kelowna.

The 80-hectare Huckleberry wildfire began on Friday and continues to burn, uncontained.

On Friday, 60 firefighters, eight airtankers, and two helicopters responded to the fire. 21 firefighters worked overnight through Saturday morning in an effort to contain the blaze, with an additional 40 firefighters and support staff anticipated on site Saturday.

Water restrictions in place

Metro Vancouver has put further restrictions on water use, including lawn sprinklers, due to unseasonably hot and dry weather in May and June.

The Commissioner of the Greater Vancouver Water District confirmed that the Metro Vancouver region is now in the second stage of the comprehensive four-stage plan that has the necessary measures to deal with water shortages.

As of July 3, watering lawns is permitted once a week, only in the morning but prohibited during evening hours when demand is highest for domestic uses like cooking, dishwashing, laundry and showers. The increased restrictions apply to lawn sprinkling only and not to watering flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees.

In residential areas, even-numbered addresses may water lawns only on Monday mornings between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water lawns on Thursday mornings from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Additionally, all public and commercial fountains and water features are not allowed to operate.

Every summer, water use almost doubles (mostly due to outdoor use) while rainfall is at its lowest. On the hottest days, as much as two billion litres of water are used in Metro Vancouver.

More information on water restrictions and exemptions can be found on the official city website.

Restrictions are in effect until September 3.

The last time that Metro Vancouver implemented the second stage of the Water Shortage Response Plan was in 2003.

Source: BC Wildfire Service | Municipalities of Metro Vancouver

With a report from Daksha Rangan.

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