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Open fire size restricted

As temperatures rise ,fire risk increases, and now the size of open fires will be restricted in response.

Starting Thursday May 15, at noon the size of open fires will be restricted to a half-metre by a half-metre in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre with the exception of the Clearwater and Salmon Arm fire zones.

Fire Information Officer Kayla Pepper said the restrictions are meant to help prevent human-caused wildfires and to protect the public, noting they have responded to several already this season.

“Since April 1, Kamloops Fire Centre crews have responded to 49 wildfire incidents. Many of these wildfires resulted from poorly planned open burning,” said Pepper.

The Clearwater and Salmon Arm fire zones will become subject to this prohibition on June 15, when all open burning will be prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre.

The changes mean that anyone lighting larger fires outside of the two exception zones must extinguish them by noon on May 15. This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 15, or until further notice.

Failure to comply could cost you a ticket for $345 of, if convicted in court, a fine up to $100,000 and one year in jail.

As well if your fire causes or contributes to a wildfire, you could be charged a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Pepper said this prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide (or smaller) and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

  • The burning of any waste, slash or other materials (piled or unpiled) at a size larger than one-half metre by one-half metre.
  • The burning of more than two open fires of any size at the same time.
  • Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.
  • The use of fireworks, sky lanterns or burning barrels of any size or description.

This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but it does not apply within the boundaries of a local government. Before lighting any fire, residents should check with local government authorities regarding any current prohibitions.

For information about open burning and tips on making responsible burning decisions, please download one of the open burning guides at: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call *5555 on your cellphone or call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.

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