(Port Alberni Fire Department)

With wildfires wreaking havoc on BC’s interior and much of Alberta, along with record-breaking heat waves coming earlier than usual, the Coastal Fire Centre of BC is placing a preemptive fire ban on Vancouver Island.

Beginning at noon on Thursday, May 18th, many fire burning activities will be prohibited with fines of up to $10,000 as a consequence for disobeying the ban.  

According to the Coastal Fire Centre, ‘Category 2’ and ‘Category 3’ fires will be prohibited across BC’s coast, with the exception of Haida Gwaii. 

(Coastal Fire Centre of BC)

The prohibition will be in place until October 31st or until the order is rescinded by the Coastal Fire Centre.

Category 2 and Category 3 fires include all fires on both public and private land which exceed two metres in height and three meters in width. More than one burn pile at a time may not exceed those parameters. 

Other prohibited activities include fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels or burn cages and air curtain burners.

Campfires are considered a ‘Category 1’ fire and are still permitted at this time, so long as they are only half a metre high by half a metre wide or smaller. 

Cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes are also still permitted at this time. 

The exception is that anyone lighting a small campfire is required to clear the immediate area of flammable debris in an eight metre diameter to ensure the fire does not spread and there must be water nearby in case it does. 

Anyone who is caught breaking this fire ban may be given a hefty fine of up to $10,000, or if convicted, a $100,000 fine and/or one year in prison. 

If the banned fire spreads and causes a wildfire, whoever set the blaze will be responsible for all damages and firefighting costs. 

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