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Ban on Category 2 and 3 open fires coming for Okanagan-Shuswap

Prohibition for Kamloops Fire Centre doesn’t include Category 1 campfires
A prohibition on Category 2 and 3 open burns came into effect in the Kamloops Fire Centre at noon on Thursday, May 18. (BC Wildfire Service graphic)

A ban on Category 2 and 3 open fires comes into effect throughout the Okangan-Shuswap at noon on Thursday, May 18.

The BC Wildfire Service said the prohibition, which also includes fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels/cages of any size or description and air curtain burners, is being enacted for the Kamloops Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.

The prohibition does not include Category 1 campfires that are a half-metre high by a high-metre wide or smaller. Nor does it apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.

A Category 2 open fire is one that burns:

• material in one pile not exceeding 2 metres in height and 3 metres in width;

• material concurrently in 2 piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width; or

• stubble or grass over an area that does not exceed 0.2 hectares.

A category 3 open fire is one that burns:

• material concurrently in three or more piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width;

• material in one or more piles each exceeding 2 m in height or 3 m in width,

• one or more windrows, each not exceeding 200 m in length or 15 m in width,

• stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 ha.

“These prohibitions apply to all public and private land within the Kamloops Fire Centre jurisdiction, unless specified otherwise in an enactment (e.g. in a local government bylaw),” reads a May 16 media release from the BC Wildfire Service. “Before lighting any fire, people should check with local government authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in effect.”

The prohibition will remain in effect until rescinded. Anyone found in contravention may be issued a 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. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone. For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, call 1-888-3-FOREST or visit

Read more: Air quality statements remain in place across Western Canada as wildfires rage

Read more: Experts foresee more heat waves outside summer as May hot spell grips B.C., Alberta
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