Contributed by the Southeast Fire Centre
The Southeast Fire Centre is asking the public to exercise caution while conducting any outdoor burning activities this spring, due to expected warm and dry weather conditions this week.
As the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovered and that material can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of year are caused by people and therefore are preventable.
Anyone wishing to light an open fire must watch for changing weather, follow all burning regulations to reduce the number of preventable wildfires, and take the following precautions:
— Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
— Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
— Create a fireguard at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
— If you are planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and help prevent the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and must be completely extinguished before starting a new fire.
— Never leave a fire unattended.
— Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time.
Before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department, municipality and regional district to find out if any open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.
If you are planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn larger than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires), you must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717. Burn registration numbers are available free of charge.
Be advised that, if your fire escapes, you may be liable for fire suppression costs and damages. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are burning in a safe, responsible manner that is in accordance with current restrictions.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca