Large Fire
(photo via Unsplash)

A temporary ban on most open burning activities on Vancouver Island will come into effect Wednesday as the province mitigates wildfire risks.

The ban will start at 12 p.m. PST on June 23, and covers the Coastal Fire Centre area of the BC Wildfire Service.

The Coastal centre is headquartered in Parksville and includes Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the Sunshine Coast up to the northern border of Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park.

Haida Gwaii will be exempted from the ban. A map of the Coastal Fire Centre area is online on the BC Wildfire Service website.

Under the ban, Category 2 or 3 open burns will be prohibited. That includes any fires over 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres across.

Fireworks, sky lanterns, air curtain burners binary exploding targets, burn barrels or burn cages of any size are also prohibited.

This applies to both private and public land.

Campfires will still be permitted, provided they are kept within 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres across. Cooking stoves and barbecues are also still permitted.

People enjoying campfires must also have 8 litres of water or a shovel on hand, and must extinguish their fires entirely, including making ashes cool to the touch, before leaving. A fireguard, such as circle of stones or a pit, is also required.

More details on the different fire categories is available as an infographic at www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs.

People who violate the ban could find themselves facing a $1,150 ticket. If they are convicted in court of an offence, they could also face fines up to $100,000 and/or a year in jail.

Those whose actions are found to have caused or contributed to a wildfire could be ordered to pay for all firefighting and associated costs.

Wildfires can be reported by calling 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: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

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