Wildfire fines increased

The provincial government is getting tough with off-road vehicle operators.

Regulations are being tightened and fines increased as the province attempts to "assist with fire prevention and discourage irresponsible off-road vehicle use."

Effective immediately, spark arrestors will be required for all off-road vehicles. This is a small screen or other device that is installed in an exhaust system to stop sparks or other exhaust residue from exiting the tailpipe.

While many newer models already have such devices, owners of older models will need to equip their vehicle with a spark arrestor before operating on Crown lands.

Fines of $460 can be levied, with administrative penalties up to $10,000 if an off-road vehicle without a spark arrestor is operated when there is a risk of a wildfire starting.

If a fire starts as a result, the operator faces a $575 fine, an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or a court fine of up to $1 million and/or three years in jail.

Wildfire-related fines have also been increased or added. These include:

  • $100,000 penalty for violations related to transmission line operations, such as a wildfire starting from a downed power line.
  • $10,000 penalty for non-compliance of a stop-work order.
  • Fines for some contraventions to the Wildfire Act increasing from $767 to $1,150.

"These changes reflect the tougher stand that our government is taking to eliminate unnecessary wildfire risks, encourage compliance, protect communities from harm and help keep British Columbians safe," said Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson.

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