American ex-pats will have to cancel their plans for Fourth of July fireworks displays, or at least get them over with before lunchtime. The Southeast Fire Centre has announced an open fire ban effective noon on July 4, including a fireworks ban. Some fires are still allowed. To find out what is allowed and where, take a look at this June 30 fire centre information release:
CASTLEGAR – Effective noon July 4, 2011, all open fires are prohibited within the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. The ban will be in place until the public is otherwise notified.
Specifically, this ban prohibits;
· Burning any waste, slash or other material.
· Burning stubble or grass.
· The use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description.
The ban does not prohibit campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water nearby to properly extinguish the fire. Please also ensure campfires are not lit or kept burning during windy conditions.
This ban covers all BC Parks, Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department. Please check with civic authorities for any restrictions before lighting a fire.
Anyone found in contravention of an open fire ban may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. Anyone who causes a wildfire through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend three years in prison and be held responsible for suppression costs.
Crews from the Southeast Fire Centre have responded to 16 wildfires since April 1, which together have burned 28 hectares.
The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses the area extending from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands/Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C./Alberta border in the east. This includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain districts.
Report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling *5555 on your cellphone or toll-free 1 800 663-5555. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to http://www.bcforestfireinfo.gov.bc.ca. You can also follow the latest wildfire news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/BCGovFireInfo or Facebook http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo