(Government of BC)

The annual open fire ban for BC’s Coastal Fire Centre, which includes all of Vancouver Island, will go into effect this week.

As of noon Pacific Time on Friday, July 24, Category 2 and 3 open fires will be prohibited in order to reduce wildfire risks as temperatures start to rise on the island.

See also: Fire crews battling large brush fire in West Shore area

One exception is that Category 3 fires will still be permitted in Haida Gwaii after it takes effect for the rest of the region.

These bans apply to the following types of fires:

  • Category 2 open fire
    • the open burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high
      and three metres wide;
    • the open burning of material concurrently in 2 piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width; or
    • burning of stubble or grass fires over an area smaller than 0.2 hectares.
  • Category 3 open fire
    • any fire larger than 2 metres high by 3 metres wide;
    • the burning of 3 or more concurrently burning piles no larger than 2 metres high
      by 3 metres wide;
    • the burning of 1 or more windrows; and
    • burning stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.

These prohibitions apply to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise like in a local government bylaw. Residents are asked to check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

Fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels or burn cages, and air curtain burners are also banned.

It does not prohibit campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.

However anyone lighting a campfire is required to maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area, and have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the flames.

Those found defying the ban may be issued a violation 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.